Predicting the transfer of radiocaesium from organic soils to plants using soil characteristics

J. P. Absalom, S. D. Young, N. M.J. Crout*, A. Sanchez, S. M. Wright, E. Smolders, Anne Nisbet, A. G. Gillett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Citations (Scopus)


A model predicting plant uptake of radiocaesium based on soil characteristics is described. Three soil parameters required to determine radiocaesium bioavailability in soils are estimated in the model: the labile caesium distribution coefficient (k(dl)), K+ concentration in the soil solution [m(K)] and the soil solution→plant radiocaesium concentration factor (CF, Bqkg-1 plant/Bqdm-3). These were determined as functions of soil clay content, exchangeable K+ status, pH, NH+ 4 concentration and organic matter content. The effect of time on radiocaesium fixation was described using a previously published double exponential equation, modified for the effect of soil organic matter as a non-fixing adsorbent. The model was parameterised using radiocaesium uptake data from two pot trials conducted separately using ryegrass (Lolium perenne) on mineral soils and bent grass (Agrostis capillaris) on organic soils. This resulted in a significant fit to the observed transfer factor (TF, Bqkg-1 plant/Bqkg-1 whole soil) (P<0.001, n=58) and soil solution K+ concentration (m(K), moldm-3) (P<0.001, n=58). Without further parameterisation the model was tested against independent radiocaesium uptake data for barley (n=71) using a database of published and unpublished information covering contamination time periods of 1.2-10 years (transfer factors ranged from 0.001 to 0.1). The model accounted for 52% (n=71, P<0.001) of the observed variation in log transfer factor. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science B.V.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the European Commission DGXII, Contract No. F14PCT950015 as part of the SAVE project (Spatial Analysis of Vulnerable Ecosystems).


  • Model
  • Plant uptake
  • Radiocaesium
  • Soil


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