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Retention of potentially mobile radiocesium in forest surface soils affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident

Koarashi, Jun  ; Moriya, Koichi*; Atarashi-Andoh, Mariko ; Matsunaga, Takeshi; Fujita, Hiroki; Nagaoka, Mika 

The fate of $$^{137}$$Cs derived from the Fukushima nuclear accident fallout and associated radiological hazards are largely dependent on its mobility in the surface soils of forest ecosystems. Thus, we quantified microbial and adsorptive retentions of $$^{137}$$Cs in forest surface (0-3 cm) soils. The K$$_{2}$$SO$$_{4}$$ extraction process liberated 2.1%-12.8% of the total $$^{137}$$Cs from the soils. Two soils with a higher content of clay- and silt-sized particles, organic carbon content, and cation exchange capacity showed higher $$^{137}$$Cs extractability. Microbial biomass was observed in all of the soils. However, the $$^{137}$$Cs extractability did not increase after destruction of the microbial biomass by chloroform fumigation, providing no evidence for microbial retention of the Fukushima-fallout $$^{137}$$Cs. The results indicate that uptake of $$^{137}$$Cs by soil microorganisms is less important for retention of potentially mobile $$^{137}$$Cs in the forest surface soils compared to ion-exchange adsorption on non-specific sites provided by abiotic components.

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Category:Multidisciplinary Sciences

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