Radiation and Environmental Biophysics

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 603–611 | Cite as

Radionuclide concentration ratios in Australian terrestrial wildlife and livestock: data compilation and analysis

Original Paper


Radionuclide concentrations in Australian terrestrial fauna, including indigenous kangaroos and lizards, as well as introduced sheep and water buffalo, are of interest when considering doses to human receptors and doses to the biota itself. Here, concentration ratio (CR) values for a variety of endemic and introduced Australian animals with a focus on wildlife and livestock inhabiting open rangeland are derived and reported. The CR values are based on U- and Th-series concentration data obtained from previous studies at mining sites and 241Am and 239/240Pu data from a former weapons testing site. Soil-to-muscle CR values of key natural-series radionuclides for grazing Australian kangaroo and sheep are one to two orders of magnitude higher than those of grazing cattle in North and South America, and for 210Po, 230Th, and 238U are one to two orders of magnitude higher than the ERICA tool reference values. When comparing paired kangaroo and sheep CR values, results are linearly correlated (r = 0.81) for all tissue types. However, kidney and liver CR values for kangaroo are typically higher than those of sheep, particularly for 210Pb, and 210Po, with values in kangaroo liver more than an order of magnitude higher than those in sheep liver. Concentration ratios for organs are typically higher than those for muscle including those for 241Am and 239/240Pu in cooked kangaroo and rabbit samples. This study provides CR values for Australian terrestrial wildlife and livestock and suggests higher accumulation rates for select radionuclides in semi-arid Australian conditions compared with those associated with temperate conditions.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Australian Nuclear Science and Technology OrganisationKirrawee DCAustralia

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