Sr-90 soil to plant transfer factor reduction using calcium and polymer soil amendments
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Introducing calcium into soils can inhibit Sr-90 uptake by plants. To test the efficacy of calcium amendments on the inhibition of Sr-90 uptake by edible plants, a number of different calcium applications, including calcium nitrate, calcium thiosulfate and a mixture of both liquid solutions, were used in this study. Pea plants (Pisum sativum 'Sabre') grown in Sr-90 contaminated soil from seeds to maturity were watered with these calcium solutions. Two different polymers, one inert and one nutrient enriched, were incorporated into the contaminated soil where pea seeds were sowed to ascertain a continuous supply of calcium and essential nutrients. Results show that the heterogeneity of Sr-90 distribution in soil translated to disparate Sr-90 contents in plant tissues. However, on average, irrigation with calcium solutions in conjunction with the usage of polymers consistently yielded a reduction in Sr-90 uptake by the plants. The lowest soil-to-plant transfer factor (TF) values were measured in the edible pea part of the plant, followed by the flowers, roots, stems, pea shells and then leaves. TF values for pea shells were between 4.9 and 20.9, and between 0.3 and 2.8 for the peas. Results do not allow the identification of one particular chemical solution that would systematically be the best choice to minimize Sr-90 uptake.
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