Radium concentration factors in passionfruit (Passiflora foetida) from the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory, Australia

Peter Medley, A Bollhofer, David Parry, Paul Martin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this study, uptake of Ra from soil into the edible fruit of the wild passionfruit species Passiflora foetida was investigated, using selective extraction from the soil samples. A wide range of environmental exposure conditions were represented by the locations that were sampled, including both natural soils, and soils influenced by past and present uranium mining activities. The bioavailable 226Ra fraction in soils was found to be a better predictor of 226Ra fruit activity concentrations than the total soil activity concentration, or any of the other fractions studied. Concentration Factors (CFs) derived using the bioavailable fraction varied by only a factor of 7 between different locations, whereas CFs derived using other fractions and total soil varied by up to two orders of magnitude. CFs were highest for those soils containing the lowest concentrations of Mg, Ca and Ba, and approached a saturation value at higher soil concentrations. This finding suggests that group II elements influence radium uptake, most likely the result of increased pressure on the plant to take up essential nutrient group II elements from soil with the lower concentrations, with Ra being taken up as an analogue element. It is also possible that at higher concentrations of bioavailable Ca and Mg in the soil, these ions will outcompete Ra for adsorption sites in the soil and/or on the root surfaces. The study also shows that 228Ra can potentially be a significant contributor to ingestion doses and should also be considered when assessing committed effective doses from the ingestion of fruits. � 2013 .
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)137-146
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


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