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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Respective Horizon Contributions to Cesium-137 Soil-to-Plant Transfer: A Pot Experiment Approach


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 29 No. 4, p. 1194-1199
    Received: May 28, 1999

    * Corresponding author(s): delvaux@pedo.ucl.ac.be
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  1. Yves Thiry,
  2. Nathalie Kruyts and
  3. Bruno Delvaux *
  1. Radiation Protection Research Unit, CEN-SCK, Boeretang 200, 2400 Mol, Belgium;



The OAh horizons in forest acid soils are reported to fix more radiocesium than the mineral horizons beneath and organic horizons above them. We determined the respective contributions of the Of, OAh, Ah, and Bw horizons in an acid brown soil to the total 137Cs soil-to-plant transfer by using young spruce plants [Picea abies (L.) H. Karst.l grown on reconstituted micro-pedons in which these respective horizons were contaminated by carrier-free 137Cs. The plants were grown in a greenhouse at 20°C during a period of 5 mo. The respective contributions to the 137Cs soil-to-plant transfer were 92.71% in Of, 0.18% in OAh, 3.28% in Ah, and 3.83% in Bw. The very high contribution of Of was due to its high organic matter (OM) content, while the very low contribution of OAh was related to Cs+ fixation by vermiculitic clay minerals. The higher 137Cs transfer from Ah and Bw vs. OAh was probably associated with Al interlayering of vermiculite. Our data suggest that plant roots and soil vermiculite acted as competitive sinks for 137Cs in the acid brown soil.

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