, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 1195–1208 | Cite as

Effects of radioactive contamination on Scots pines in the remote period after the Chernobyl accident

  • Stanislav Geras’kinEmail author
  • Alla Oudalova
  • Nina Dikareva
  • Sergey Spiridonov
  • Thomas Hinton
  • Elena Chernonog
  • Jacqueline Garnier-Laplace


A 6 year study of Scots pine populations inhabiting sites in the Bryansk region of Russia radioactively contaminated as a result of the Chernobyl accident is presented. In six study sites, 137Cs activity concentrations and heavy metal content in soils, as well as 137Cs, 90Sr and heavy metal concentrations in cones were measured. Doses absorbed in reproduction organs of pine trees were calculated using a dosimetric model. The maximum annual dose absorbed at the most contaminated site was about 130 mGy. Occurrence of aberrant cells scored in the root meristem of germinated seeds collected from pine trees growing on radioactively contaminated territories for over 20 years significantly exceeded the reference levels during all 6 years of the study. The data suggest that cytogenetic effects occur in Scots pine populations due to the radioactive contamination. However, no consistent differences in reproductive ability were detected between the impacted and reference populations as measured by the frequency of abortive seeds. Even though the Scots pine populations have occupied radioactively contaminated territories for two decades, there were no clear indications of adaptation to the radiation, when measured by the number of aberrant cells in root meristems of seeds exposed to an additional acute dose of radiation.


Chernobyl accident Radioactive contamination Scots pine Absorbed doses Cytogenetic effects Reproductive ability Radio-adaptation 



This work was partly supported by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant 11-04-00670) and a French TRASSE project (N 2009-1B). The authors would like to express their deep gratitude to Tatiana Kozina, Dmitry Dikarev and Aleksey Kulikov for their indispensable help in the field. This article also benefited from the comments of two anonymous reviewers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanislav Geras’kin
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alla Oudalova
    • 1
  • Nina Dikareva
    • 1
  • Sergey Spiridonov
    • 1
  • Thomas Hinton
    • 2
  • Elena Chernonog
    • 1
  • Jacqueline Garnier-Laplace
    • 2
  1. 1.Russian Institute of Agricultural Radiology and AgroecologyObninskRussia
  2. 2.Institute of Radioprotection and Nuclear SafetySt Paul lez Durance CedexFrance

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