Using tobacco plants as biomonitors of contaminated norm areas

B. Máté, M. Horváth, J. Somlai, T. Kovács

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6 Citations (Scopus)


One of the largest biomonitoring tasks is the assessing and environment monitoring of radiological wastes produced by mining. Po-210 and Pb-210 are easy to mobilise even in a weak acidic medium and as we know the biological behaviour and accumulation capacity of tobacco, this could be a suitable option for biomonitoring. During our work the Pb-210 and Po-210 concentration values of tobacco parts and soil samples originating from a Hungarian remediated uranium mine site were determined. The source preparation was spontaneous deposition following combined acidic leaching with a Po-209 tracer; the detection was carried out with a semiconductor ('PIPS') detector alpha-spectrometer. According to the results for the tobacco plant parts and soil samples, secular equilibrium could be found between the Pb-210 and Po-210 isotopes, and the isotope content of the lower leaves of the tobacco plants was in correlation with the isotope concentration of the soil; therefore, the measurement of the activity concentration is suitable for tracing smaller levels of washing out. The Po-210 activity concentration values of tobacco (average: 15.5 ± 3.6 Bq kg-1) and soil (average: 60.1 ± 15.2 Bq kg-1) samples originating from the area investigated compared with samples from another part of Hungary, Balatonalmádi (tobacco: 12.5 ± 1.0 Bq kg-1, soil: 57.0 ± 4.7 Bq kg-1), do not show significant radionuclide migration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-89
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Radiological Protection
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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