Main content area

Cosmogenic beryllium-7 in soil, rainwater and selected plant species to evaluate the vegetal interception of atmospheric fine particulate matter

Saleh, Ibrahim H., Abdel-Halim, Aly A.
Isotopes in environmental and health studies 2018 v.54 no.4 pp. 392-402
Earth atmosphere, Ficus elastica, Ficus retusa, Nicotiana glauca, carbon, ions, leaves, medicine, nitrogen, normal values, oxygen, parks, particulates, radionuclides, rain, soil, wet deposition, wet season, Egypt
Beryllium-7 is a radionuclide produced in the upper atmosphere by cosmic-ray spallation with ions of carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. It is one of radionuclides that can be used to trace the fine particulate matter of 2.5-µm diameter (PM₂.₅) and smaller. In this work, ⁷Be was determined in leaves of 10 plant species collected from streets, parks and open land and in 5 consecutive rains over Alexandria, Egypt. ⁷Be levels were also measured in soil covered by each type of plant as well as in the nearest uncovered soil to be reference values to determine its intercepted amount and consequently PM₂.₅. The lowest interception, 17.7 %, was by Ficus elastica L., while Ficus retusa L. intercepted about 45 %. Radiologically, the annual effective dose due to the usage of Thymelea hirsute plant leaves as a medicine and Nicotiana glauca Graham for smoking were 0.013 and 0.66 µSv, respectively. The observed levels in rainwater indicated that ⁷Be decreased consecutively from 3.1 Bq kg–¹ in the first rain to 0.71 Bq kg–¹ in the last one during the 2016/2017 rain season. The wet deposition of ⁷Be is less than 1 % of its total deposition on the ground.