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Influence of group II metals on Radium-226 concentration ratios in the native green plum (Buchanania obovata) from the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory, Australia

Medley, Peter, Bollhöfer, Andreas
Journal of environmental radioactivity 2016 v.151 pp. 551-557
Buchanania, alligators, barium, calcium, exchangeable calcium, fruits, passion fruits, plums, prediction, radioactivity, soil, soil sampling, strontium, Northern Territory
In this study, uptake of Ra from soil, and the influence of group II metals on Ra uptake, into the stones and edible flesh of the fruit of the wild green plum, Buchanania obovata, was investigated. Selective extraction of the exchangeable fraction of the soil samples was undertaken but was not shown to more reliably predict Ra uptake than total soil Ra activity concentration. Comparison of the group II metal to Ca ratios (i.e. Sr/Ca, Ba/Ca, Ra/Ca) in the flesh with exchangeable Ca shows that Ca outcompetes group II metals for root uptake and that the uptake pathway discriminated against group II metals relative to ionic radius, with uptake of Ca > Sr > Ba >> Ra. Flesh and stone analysis showed that movement of group II metals to these components of the plant, after root uptake, was strongly related. This supports the hypothesis that Sr, Ba and Ra are being taken up as analogue elements, and follow the same uptake and translocation pathways, with Ca. Comparison with previously reported data from a native passion fruit supports the use of total soil CRs on natural, undisturbed sites. As exchangeable CRs for Ra reach a saturation value it may be possible to make more precise predictions using selective extraction techniques for contaminated or disturbed sites.