The use of hexacyanoferrates in different forms to reduce radiocaesium contamination of animal products in Russia

Sci Total Environ. 1998 Nov 10;223(2-3):167-76. doi: 10.1016/s0048-9697(98)00313-1.


Hexacyanoferrates have been identified as highly effective radiocaesium binders which effectively reduce radiocaesium uptake and transfer to milk and meat. In Russia a hexacyanoferrate called ferrocyn has been produced for use as a countermeasure. In 1989-1992, experiments were undertaken in Russia to study the effectiveness of four different ferrocyn materials as 137Cs binders, their potential toxicity, effect on production rates of cow milk, effect on animal health and ease of implementation in routine agricultural practice. Four different ferrocyn delivery forms have been used: 98% pure powder, sustained release rumen boli (15% ferrocyn), salt licks (10% ferrocyn) and sawdust with 10% ferrocyn adsorbed (bifege). In initial experiments with different cows, sheep and pigs these four ferrocyn materials were effective in reducing radiocaesium transfer to animal products. Daily administration of ferrocyn powder at a rate of 3-5 g per cow reduced 137Cs transfer by up to 90% in milk. One single administration of three boli per cow (containing 30 g ferrocyn per boli) reduced 137Cs transfer by 50-75% for a period of 2 months. Salt licks containing 10% ferrocyn (0.22 kg ferrocyn per 2.2 kg briquette provided once) reduced transfer of 137Cs up to twofold for up to 10 days whilst bifege, given at a rate of 30-60 g day-1 (3-6 g day-1 ferrocyn), reduced 137Cs transfer by 90-95%. However, large-scale application of these ferrocyn materials on collective and private farms in agricultural trials in 1994 resulted in a lower effectiveness. Therefore, in 1996 a comparative assessment of the application of the four ferrocyn forms was made under carefully controlled conditions. The results fully validated the previous experimental data, and showed the importance of meeting recommended procedures for treatment, particularly when hexacyanoferrates are administered on a day-to-day basis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animal Feed
  • Animals
  • Antidotes / pharmacology
  • Blood / drug effects
  • Cattle
  • Cesium Radioisotopes / analysis*
  • Cesium Radioisotopes / metabolism
  • Ferrocyanides / administration & dosage
  • Ferrocyanides / chemistry
  • Ferrocyanides / pharmacology*
  • Food Contamination, Radioactive*
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Meat
  • Milk / chemistry
  • Russia
  • Sheep
  • Swine


  • Antidotes
  • Cesium Radioisotopes
  • Ferrocyanides
  • ferrocyn