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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Plant and Environment Interactions

Uptake and Release of Cesium-137 by Five Plant Species as Influenced by Soil Amendments in Field Experiments


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 32 No. 6, p. 2272-2279
    Received: Mar 26, 2003

    * Corresponding author(s): fuhrmann@bnl.gov
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  1. Mark Fuhrmann *a,
  2. Mitch Lasatb,
  3. Stephen Ebbsc,
  4. Jay Cornishd and
  5. Leon Kochiane
  1. a Brookhaven National Laboratory, P.O. Box 5000, Upton, NY 11973-5000
    b USEPA, National Center for Environmental Research (8722R), 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460
    c Department of Plant Biology, 420 Life Science II, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Carbondale, IL 62901
    d MSE Technology Applications, P.O. Box 4078, Butte, MT 59702
    e USDA, U.S. Plant, Soil and Nutrition Laboratory, 237 Tower Road, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853


Phytoextraction field experiments were conducted on soil contaminated with 0.39 to 8.7 Bq/g of 137Cs to determine the capacity of five plant species to accumulate 137Cs and the effects of three soil treatments on uptake. The plants tested were redroot pigweed (Amaranthus retroflexus L. var. aureus); a mixture of redroot pigweed and spreading pigweed (A. graecizans L.); purple amaranth (A. cruteus L.) × Powell's amaranth (A. powellii S. Watson), referred to here as the amaranth hybrid; Indian mustard [Brassica juncea (L.) Czern.]; and cabbage (Brassica oleracea L. var. capitata). For control plants, the concentration ratios (CR) of 137Cs were greatest for redroot pigweed and the amaranth hybrid, with average CR values of 1.0 ± 0.24 and 0.95 ± 0.14, respectively. The lowest value was for Indian mustard at 0.36 ± 0.10. The soil treatments included (i) application of NH4NO3 solution to the soil after plants had matured, (ii) addition of composted manure to increase organic matter content of the soil, (iii) combination of the manure and ammonium solution treatments, and (iv) controls. The ammonium solution gave little overall increase in accumulation of 137Cs. The use of composted manure also had little influence, but the combination of the composted manure with application of ammonium solutions had a distinctly negative effect on plant uptake of 137Cs. On average the fraction of 137Cs taken up from the soil was reduced by 57.4 ± 1.2% compared with controls. This was the result of release of competing ions, primarily Ca, from the manure and was observed across all five plant species tested. The application of ammonium solution took place in the last two weeks before harvest. The reduction of plant 137Cs content, by addition of the ammonium solution, as it interacted with the manure, indicates that substantial quantities 137Cs can be released from the shoots of plants as a result of sudden changes in soil solution chemistry.

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Copyright © 2003. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA