Experimental determination of concentration factors of Mn, Zn and I in the phytoplankton species Phaeodactylum Tricornutum
Journal article, 2023
Anthropogenic radionuclides released into the environment cause a radiation dose to wildlife and humans which must be quantified, both to assess the effect of normal releases, and to predict the consequences of a larger, unplanned release. To estimate the spread of the radioactive elements, the ecosystem around release points is modelled, and element uptake is usually quantified by concentration factors (CF), which relates the concentration of an element in an organism to the concentration of the same element in a medium under equilibrium conditions. In this work, we experimentally determine some phytoplankton CF that are needed for improved modelling of the marine ecosystems around nuclear facilities and release points. CFs that require better determination have been identified through literature search. Sensitivity studies, using the currently used ecosystem modelling software PREDO, show that for most studied groups, the dose committed by the respective radionuclides is almost proportional to the corresponding phytoplankton CFs. In the present work, CFs are determined through laboratory experiments with cultured phytoplankton and radionuclides of the concerned elements, assessing the element uptake by the phytoplankton through detection of the emitted radiation. The three CF assessed in this work were those for manganese, zinc and iodine in phytoplankton. Conservative estimates of these CF based on the present data are 40 000 L/kg for manganese, 50 000 L/kg for zinc and 180 L/kg for iodine with the phytoplankton masses referring to their dry weight.