Effective half-lives of ¹³⁷Cs in giant butterbur and field horsetail, and the distribution differences of potassium and ¹³⁷Cs in aboveground tissue parts

J Environ Radioact. 2015 Mar;141:138-45. doi: 10.1016/j.jenvrad.2014.12.013. Epub 2015 Jan 9.


Concentrations of (137)Cs and (40)K in different tissues of edible wild herbaceous plants, that is, leaf blade and petiole for giant butterbur (Petasites japonicas (Siebold et Zucc.) Maxim.), and leaf, stem and strobilus for fertile shoot of field horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.) were measured in 2012-2014 to clarify the effect in Japan from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The concentrations of (137)Cs decreased with time with effective half-lives of ca. 450 d and 360 d for giant butterbur and field horsetail, respectively. The ANOVA test revealed that (40)K and (137)Cs distributions in leaf blade and petiole for giant butterbur and leaf and stem for field horsetail were different. Therefore, other plants, leaf and stem for Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica (Houtt.) Ronse Decr.) and Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis L.), and leaf blade and petiole for gingko (Ginkgo biloba L.) and Someiyoshino cherry (Cerasus × yedoensis (Matsum.) A.V.Vassil. 'Somei-yoshino') were collected from the same sampling field and their (137)Cs and (40)K concentrations were compared to those in the giant butterbur and field horsetail parts. For (137)Cs, concentrations in leaf blade and leaf parts were 1.1-6.0 times higher than those in petiole and stem parts for all six plants. On the other hand, (40)K concentrations in leaf blade and leaf parts were 0.40-0.97 of those observed in petiole and stem parts. Discrimination ratios of (40)K/(137)Cs of leaf blade to petiole or leaf to stem were then calculated and they ranged from 0.09 to 0.57. These results suggested that Cs and K did not behave similarly in these plants. Thus, to understand the radiocesium fate in plants, K measurement results should not be used as an analog for Cs behavior although Cs is known to have a similar chemical reactivity to that of K.

Keywords: Discrimination ratio; Distribution; Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant fallout; Herbaceous plant; Potassium; Radiocesium.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cesium Radioisotopes / metabolism*
  • Equisetum / metabolism*
  • Half-Life
  • Japan
  • Petasites / metabolism*
  • Plant Leaves / metabolism
  • Plant Stems / metabolism
  • Plants, Edible / metabolism*
  • Potassium Radioisotopes / metabolism*
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive / metabolism*


  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Potassium Radioisotopes
  • Soil Pollutants, Radioactive