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Title: Transfer Factors for Contaminant Uptake by Fruit and Nut Trees

Transfer of radionuclides from soils into plants is one of the key mechanisms for long-term contamination of the human food chain. Nearly all computer models that address soil-to-plant uptake of radionuclides use empirically-derived transfer factors to address this process. Essentially all available soil-to-plant transfer factors are based on measurements in annual crops. Because very few measurements are available for tree fruits, samples were taken of alfalfa and oats and the stems, leaves, and fruits and nuts of almond, apple, apricot, carob, fig, grape, nectarine, pecan, pistachio (natural and grafted), and pomegranate, along with local surface soil. The samples were dried, ground, weighed, and analyzed for trace constituents through a combination of induction-coupled plasma mass spectrometry and instrumental neutron activation analysis for a wide range of naturally-occurring elements. Analysis results are presented and converted to soil-to-plant transfer factors. These are compared to commonly used and internationally recommended values. Those determined for annual crops are very similar to commonly-used values; those determined for tree fruits show interesting differences. Most macro- and micronutrients are slightly reduced in fruits; non-essential elements are reduced further. These findings may be used in existing computer models and may allow development of tree-fruit-specific transfer models.
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
radionuclide uptake; concentration ratio; transfer factor; tree fruits; nuts