Leaves of higher plants as biomonitors of radionuclides (Cs-137, K-40, Pb-210 and Be-7) in urban air
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Leaves of linden (Tilia tomentosa L. and Tilia cordata Mill.) and horse chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum L.) were analysed as biomonitors of radionuclides in urban air. Samples of soils, leaves and aerosols were collected in Belgrade, Serbia. Activities of Cs-137, K-40, Pb-210 and Be-7 in the samples were measured on an HPGe detector by standard gamma spectrometry. Soil-to-leaves transfer factors were calculated. Students t test and linear Pearson correlation coefficients were used for statistical analysis. Differences in local conditions at the sampling sites were not significant, and the mechanisms of the radionuclides accumulation in both plant species are similar. Ceasium-137 was detected in some of the leaf samples only. Transfer factors for Cs-137 and K-40 were (0.03-0.08) and 1.3, respectively. The concentrations of Pb-210 and Be-7 in leaves were higher in autumn than in spring, and there were some similarities in their seasonal patterns in leaves and in air. Weak to medium corr...elation was obtained for the Pb-210 and Be-7 activities in leaves and aerosols. Large positive correlation was obtained for the Pb-210 activities in linden leaves and the mean activity in aerosols for the preceding months. Different primary modes of radionuclides accumulation in leaves were observed. Since large positive correlation was obtained for the Pb-210 activity in linden leaves and the mean in aerosols for the preceding months, mature linden leaves could be used as biomonitors of recent Pb-210 activity in air.