Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment


An experimental study on mass loading of soil particles on plant surfaces


Radionuclide contaminated soil adhered to plant surfaces can contribute to human ingestion dose. To determine this contribution, a method of 46SC neutron activation analysis was established and tested, by which a detection limit of 0.05 mg soil per g dry plant biomass can be obtained. In the field and greenhouse experiment the mass loading of soil on ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) and broad bean (Vicia jaba L.) was investigated and the contribution from rainsplash and wind erosion were evaluated separately. Soil retained on plant surfaces in field conditions in Seibersdorf/Austria was 5.77 ± 1.44 mg soil per g dry plant for ryegrass and 9.51 ± 0.73 mg soil per g dry plant for broad bean. Estimates of contribution from rainsplash and wind erosion to soil contamination of plant during the experimental period are 68 % and 32 % for broadbean, 47 % and 53 % for ryegrass, respectively.

Mass loading results from field studies indicate that soil adhesion on plant surfaces can contribute up to 23 % of plant 137CS contamination, the transfer factors modified by mass loading decline differently, depending on 137CS concentration of the soil and the soil mass adhered to plant surfaces.

Key-words: 137CS, massloading, plant contamination, 46SC neutron activation analysis.