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Transfer parameters for ICRP reference animals and plants collected from a forest ecosystem


The International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) have suggested the identification of a series of terrestrial, marine and freshwater sites from which samples of each Reference animal and plant (RAP) could be systematically collected and analysed. We describe the first such study in which six of the eight terrestrial RAPs, and associated soil samples, were collected from a site located in a managed coniferous forestry plantation in north-west England. Adult life stages of species representing six of the terrestrial RAPs (Wild grass, Pine tree, Deer, Rat, Earthworm and Bee) were sampled and analysed to determine concentrations of 60 elements and gamma-emitting radionuclides. The resultant data have been used to derive concentration ratios (CRwo-soil) relating element/radionuclide concentrations in the RAPs to those in soil. This paper presents the first-reported transfer parameters for a number of the RAP–element combinations. Where possible, the derived CRwo-soil values are compared with the ICRPs-recommended values and any appreciable differences discussed.

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  1. See for full schedule.

  2. Only one replicate of both cone and seed were analysed as they were only available from one tree.

  3. See for full schedule.

  4. Sheppard reports muscle to soil CR values for Whitetailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus); however, CR for muscle for Cs is generally taken to approximate to that for the whole body (Yankovich et al. 2010).


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This work was funded by the Environment Agency of England and Wales, and we thank the Project Manager Laura Newsome for her inputs to the work. The authors are grateful to the Forestry Commission for permission to use the sampling site and assistance in obtaining samples. We would also like to thank Clive Woods of CEH Lancaster Analytical Chemistry Group for conducting the C and N analyses; Claire Carvell of CEH Wallingford for identifying the bee species sampled and advice on sampling procedures; and Jacky Chaplow of CEH Lancaster for help preparing Barnett et al. (2013). The input of Prof. Jan Pentreath (formerly Chair of ICRP Committee 5) into the selection of elements for consideration is also appreciated. Mice (and voles) were euthanised immediately upon being found using the appropriate humane method given in Schedule 1 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act (1986) (UK Parliament 1994). As noted above, any shrews caught were released and trapping was conducted in accordance with Natural England general licence WML-GL01 (Natural England 2012). Deer samples were obtained via a culling scheme operated by the site owner (animals were shot by marksmen).

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Correspondence to C. L. Barnett.

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Barnett, C.L., Beresford, N.A., Walker, L.A. et al. Transfer parameters for ICRP reference animals and plants collected from a forest ecosystem. Radiat Environ Biophys 53, 125–149 (2014).

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  • Reference animals and plants
  • Concentration ratio
  • Transfer
  • Radionuclide
  • Biota
  • ICRP