Distribution of (226)Ra-(210)Pb-(210)Po in marine biota and surface sediments of the Red Sea, Sudan

J Environ Radioact. 2008 Dec;99(12):1825-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2008.07.008. Epub 2008 Sep 6.


Activity concentration levels and ratios of (226)Ra, (210)Pb and (210)Po are presented in multicellular marine algae, molluscs, coral as well as in surface marine sediments collected from the shallower waters of the fringing reefs area extending towards north and south (Flamingo bay) of PortSudan harbour, Sudan. The analyses were performed adopting alpha-spectrometry, liquid scintillation and Cerenkov counting techniques. Surface sediments from this coastal region are poor in their radioactivity content in contrast to similar data reported from different coastal areas around the globe. There is surface enrichment of (210)Pb and (210)Po with respect to their progenitor (226)Ra as it is evident from the activity ratios of (210)Pb/(226)Ra (3.03+/-1.79) and (210)Po/(226)Ra (2.23+/-1.56). Among marine plants and animals investigated, the green algae species, Halimeda, and coral species, Favites, show substantial concentration of radium at 8.2Bq/kg and 21.9Bq/kg dry weight, respectively. Similarly, the highest concentration of (210)Po was met in Favites at 38.7Bq/kg followed by brown algae, Cystoseria sp., at 32.6Bq/kg. There is no variation seen among algal species for (210)Pb uptake, however, converse to radium and polonium, Favites (coral) was found to contain the minimum concentration of lead (3.88Bq/kg). In most species there is preferential accumulation of polonium over its parent radium as indicated by (210)Po:(226)Ra activity ratio with Cystoseria (brown algae) showing the highest value at 8.81. On the other hand, (210)Po:(210)Pb activity concentration ratio revealed that coral species Favites (9.97) and the brown algae Sargassum (1.85) have a greater tendency to accumulate (210)Po over (210)Pb, while in the rest of species; this ratio is less than unity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chlorophyta / chemistry
  • Geography
  • Geologic Sediments / analysis*
  • Lead Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Mollusca / chemistry
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Phaeophyta / chemistry
  • Polonium / analysis*
  • Radium / analysis*
  • Seawater / analysis
  • Sudan


  • Lead Radioisotopes
  • Polonium
  • Radium