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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 20 No. 4, p. 738-744
    Received: Oct 4, 1990

    * Corresponding author(s):
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Can Aquatic Macrophytes Mobilize Technetium by Oxidizing Their Rhizosphere?

  1. S.C. Sheppard * and
  2. W.G. Evenden
  1. Environ. Science Branch, AECL Research, Whiteshell Laboratories, Pinawa, MB, Canada ROE 1L0.



Technetium (Tc) is very mobile in aerated surface environments, but is essentially immobile and biologically unavailable in anaerobic sediments. Aquatic macrophyte roots penetrate anaerobic sediments, carrying O2 downward and frequently creating oxidizing conditions in their rhizosphere. We hypothesized that this process could mobilize otherwise unavailable Tc, possibly leading to incorporation of Tc into human or animal foods. Through experiments with rice (Oryza sativa L.), and with a novel artificial macrophyte root, we concluded that this pathway is unlikely to be important for annual plants, especially in soils with a high biological oxygen demand. The relatively slow oxidation of Tc limited its mobilization by short-lived root systems.

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