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The importance of soil adhered to vegetation as a source of radionuclides ingested by grazing animals

Beresford, N.A.; Howard, B.J.. 1991 The importance of soil adhered to vegetation as a source of radionuclides ingested by grazing animals. Science of the Total Environment, 107. 237-254. 10.1016/0048-9697(91)90261-C

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Abstract/Summary

Soil ingestion has been identified as a potentially important source of radionuclides to grazing animals. Seasonal patterns of soil adherence to vegetation and its implications for the radionuclide intake of grazing animals were measured at two west Cumbrian sites. Soil adhesion to vegetation was highly seasonal, being highest in autumn and winter. At Site 1 (a lowland pasture close to the British Nuclear Fuels plc Sellafield Reprocessing Plant, Cumbria, UK), vegetation samples were found to consist of up to 46% soil (by dry weight). Therefore, the importance of soil as a potential source of radionuclides to grazing animals was also seasonal; soil comprised up to 92% of the 137Cs and potentially all of the Pu of vegetation samples at Site 1 and up to 62% of the 137Cs at Site 2 (an upland farm contaminated following the Chernobyl accident). Analyses of sheep faecal samples confirmed the seasonal importance of soil as a potential source of radionuclides. The importance of soil adhering to vegetation, as a source of contaminant 137Cs, increased with time after the Chernobly accident. Calculations of soil ingestion must be made when the intake of radionuclides by grazing animals is being studied. In some circumstances, present radioecological models may considerably underestimate the importance of soil ingestion.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/0048-9697(91)90261-C
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Other
CEH Sections: _ Pre-2000 sections
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: radioecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 13 Jun 2012 09:33
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/17837

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