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Accession Number DE2012-1045908
Title Bio-Monitoring for Uranium using Stream-Side Terrestrial Plants and Macrophytes.
Publication Date 2012
Media Count 20p
Personal Author C. E. Ferguson D. P. Coughlin E. Dixon E. F. Caldwell M. C. Duff R. A. Hicks
Abstract This study evaluated the abilities of various plant species to act as bio-monitors for environmental uranium (U) contamination. Vegetation and soil samples were collected from a U processing facility*. The water-way fed from facility storm and processing effluents was the focal sample site as it represented a primary U transport mechanism. Soils and sediments from areas exposed to contamination possessed U concentrations that averaged 630 mg U kg-1. Aquatic mosses proved to be exceptional accumulators of U with dry weight (dw) concentrations measuring as high as 12,500 mg U kg-1 (approximately 1% of the dw mass was attributable to U). The macrophytes (Phragmites communis, Scripus fontinalis and Sagittaria latifolia) were also effective accumulators of U. In general, plant roots possessed higher concentrations of U than associated upper portions of plants. For terrestrial plants, the roots of Impatiens capensis had the highest observed levels of U accumulation (1,030 mg kg-1), followed by the roots of Cyperus esculentus and Solidago speciosa. The concentration ratio (CR) characterized dry weight (dw) vegetative U levels relative to that in associated dw soil. The plant species that accumulated U at levels in excess of that found in the soil were: P. communis root (CR, 17.4), I. capensis root (CR, 3.1) and S. fontinalis whole plant (CR, 1.4). Seven of the highest ten CR values were found in the roots. Correlations with concentrations of other metals with U were performed, which revealed that U concentrations in the plant were strongly correlated with nickel (Ni) concentrations (correlation: 0.992; r-squared: 0.984). Uranium in plant tissue was also strongly correlated with strontium (Sr) (correlation: 0.948; r-squared: 0.899). Strontium is chemically and physically similar to calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg), which were also positively-correlated with U. The correlation with U and these plant nutrient minerals, including iron (Fe), suggests that active uptake mechanisms may influence plant U accumulation.
Keywords Calcium
Concentration ratio
Environmental impact
Plant tissues
Radioactive waste processing

Source Agency Technical Information Center Oak Ridge Tennessee
NTIS Subject Category 68F - Radiation Pollution & Control
77G - Radioactive Wastes & Radioactivity
Corporate Author Savannah River National Lab., Aiken, SC.
Document Type Technical report
Title Note N/A
NTIS Issue Number 1226
Contract Number DE-AC09-08SR22470

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