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Simple method for estimating soil mass loading onto plant surface using magnetic material content as a soil indicator – Influence of soil adhesion to vegetation on radioactive cesium concentration in forage

Sunaga, Yoshihito, Harada, Hisatomi
Journal of environmental radioactivity 2016
Lolium multiflorum, Secale cereale, Zea mays, adhesion, cesium, corn, forage, lodging, magnetic materials, plant growth, rye, soil, soil pollution, soil sampling, vegetation, Japan
A simple technique for estimating soil mass loading on vegetation was developed using magnetic material content as an indicator of soil adhesion. Magnetic material contents in plant and soil samples were determined by a magnetic analyzer. High recovery rates of 85–97% were achieved in a recovery test in which additional soil was added to powdered plant materials [stem of forage corn (Zea mays L.), aboveground part of Italian ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum Lam.)] at addition rates of 12.3–200 g dry soil kg−1 dry plant material including soil. Samples of different Japanese cultivated soils were tested and showed a range of magnetic contents of 1.27–16.1 g kg−1 on a dry weight basis. These levels are considered adequate for determining soil contamination in plant materials. Then, we applied this method for confirming the effect of soil adhesion on radioactive cesium concentrations in plant samples obtained at the area affected by the 2011 nuclear accident in Japan. The mean soil mass loading (±standard deviation) on forage rye (Secale cereale L.) showing mild lodging was 0.8 ± 0.6 g kg−1, but was 7.4 ± 5.0 g kg−1 for plants with serious lodging. No soil loading was detected on rye plants that showed no lodging. Radioactive cesium concentrations in the rye samples increased linearly with the increase in soil mass loading caused by plant lodging, and consequently mean radioactive cesium concentration for rye plants with serious lodging was about 2.7 times higher than that with no lodging. Cesium radioactivity in forage was affected by variations in soil mass loading onto forage plants caused by changes in plant growth and differences between plant species.