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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Respective Horizon Contributions to Cesium-137 Soil-to-Plant Transfer: A Rhizospheric Experimental Approach


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 4, p. 1180-1185
    Received: May 28, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): delvaux@pedo.ucl.ac.be
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  1. Nathalie Kruyts,
  2. Yves Thiry and
  3. Bruno Delvaux *
  1. Unité Sciences du Sol, Université catholique de Louvain, 1348 Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium;
    Radiation Protection Research Unit, CEN-SCK, Boeretang 200, 2400 Mol, Belgium.



In forest soils polluted by radiocesium, the surface horizons are known to contribute differently to Cs plant contamination. A precise quantification of the horizon contributions is, however, seldom realized. We quantified the respective contributions of the Of, OAh, Ah, and Bw horizons in an acid brown soil to the total 137Cs soil-to-plant transfer through a rhizospheric approach. The macroscopic rhizosphere was realized by creating a close contact between 137Cs-contaminated soil horizons earlier mixed with agar and a dense root mat previously developed by young, K-stressed ryegrass seedlings (Lolium multiflorum Lam., cv Lemtal) during a period of 7 d. The intimate root-soil contact was maintained for 4 d. The uptake of radiocesium by plant roots was readily effective as the 137Cs rhizospheric mobilization (RM) amounted to 0.07 to 23.42% of the initial 137Cs soil contamination. Assuming negligible horizon to horizon transfer and equivalent root exploration in each horizon, the respective contributions of the horizons to the 137Cs soil-to-plant transfer were 96.7% in Of, 0.13% in OAh, 1.34% in Ah, and 1.84% in Bw. Our data confirm the very high contribution of the organic horizon in the 137Cs soil-to-plant transfer. They further suggest that the rhizospheric approach could be well suited to classify soils for their potential effect on 137Cs plant contamination.

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