Does soil adhesion matter when predicting radiocaesium transfer to animals?

Crout, N.M.J.; Beresford, N.A.; Howard, B.J.. 1993 Does soil adhesion matter when predicting radiocaesium transfer to animals? Journal of Environmental Radioactivity, 20 (3). 201-212.

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A sward will often have significant amounts of soil adhered to the vegetation surfaces which will be ingested by grazing animals. If the soil is contaminated by radioactive fallout then it can serve as a dietary source of radionuclides, in addition to any root uptake by the plants. This study is an attempt to quantitatively assess the importance of soil adhesion as a source of radiocaesium to sheep using the RUINS model which simulates radiocaesium transfer in grazing systems. The method of simulating the contamination of vegetation surfaces used by the RUINS model is described, and the importance of the availability of radiocaesium associated with adhered soil relative to plant incorporated radiocaesium discussed. Two sets of simulations are presented: one in which the soil is treated as a medium providing a uniform availability of radiocaesium, and the second in which account is taken of the partitioning of radiocaesium in the soil between ‘fixed’ and ‘labile’ phases. The results demonstrate that, because of the reduced absorption in the gut of radiocaesium associated with soil, animals grazing pastures with significant amounts of radiocaesium associated with adhered soil will not be as contaminated as radiocaesium activity concentrations measured in bulk vegetation samples would suggest. Therefore, the extent of soil adhesion needs to be considered if predictions of radiocaesium contamination of animal products are to be made on the basis of measured activities of sampled vegetation. However, soil adhesion is unlikely to be a significant dietary source of available radiocaesium, unless the soil concerned exhibits an unusually high bioavailability of radiocaesium. Moreover the simulation results indicate that differences in availability between soil types observed experimentally are consistent with the partitioning between fixed and labile soil compartments made by the RUINS model.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Other
CEH Sections/Science Areas: _ Pre-2000 sections
ISSN: 0265-931X
Additional Keywords: radioecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 12 Jun 2012 09:24 +0 (UTC)

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