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Imaging of radiocesium uptake dynamics in a plant body by using a newly developed high-resolution gamma camera

Kawachi, Naoki; Yin, Y.-G.; Suzui, Nobuo; Ishii, Satomi; Yoshihara, Toshihiro*; Watabe, Hiroshi*; Yamamoto, Seiichi*; Fujimaki, Shu

We developed a new gamma camera specifically for plant nutritional research and successfully performed live imaging of the uptake and partitioning of $$^{137}$$Cs in intact plants. The gamma camera was specially designed for high-energy $$gamma$$ photons from $$^{137}$$Cs (662 keV). To obtain reliable images, a pinhole collimator made of tungsten heavy alloy was used to reduce penetration and scattering of $$gamma$$ photons. The array block of the GAGG scintillator was coupled to a high-quantum efficiency position sensitive photomultiplier tube to obtain accurate images. The completed gamma camera had a sensitivity of 0.83 count s$$^{-1}$$ MBq$$^{-1}$$ for $$^{137}$$Cs, and a spatial resolution of 23.5 mm. We used this gamma camera to study soybean plants that were hydroponically grown and fed with 2.0 MBq of $$^{137}$$Cs for 6 days to visualize and investigate the transport dynamics in aerial plant parts. $$^{137}$$Cs gradually appeared in the shoot several hours after feeding, and then accumulated preferentially and intensively in growing pods and seeds; very little accumulation was observed in mature leaves. Our results also suggested that this gamma-camera method may serve as a practical analyzing tool for breeding crops and improving cultivation techniques resulting in low accumulation of radiocesium into the consumable parts of plants.

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