Advertisement

Po-210 in the Environment: Biogeochemical Cycling and Bioavailability

  • Guebuem Kim
  • Tae-Hoon Kim
  • Thomas M. Church
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Isotope Geochemistry book series (ADISOTOPE)

Abstract

As the heaviest element of Group 6A, 210Po has a unique biogeochemistry in the environment that challenges our understanding. This chapter provides an overview of the research on 210Po in the atmosphere as well as in marine and other aqueous environments. Excess atmospheric 210Po has been attributed to external sources, such as volcanic emissions, resuspension of soil humus, incursion of stratospheric air, sea spray from the oceanic surface micro-layer, plant exudates including evapotranspiration, anthropogenic emissions (e.g., emission from coal combustion), and bio-volatilization through the formation of dimethyl polonide. Most of these sources have been qualitatively identified, yet they remain difficult to quantify. In the aqueous environment, 210Po is efficiently accumulated in plankton and bacteria and is biomagnified through the food webs, relative to its grandparent 210Pb, causing 210Po to be largely deficient in the euphotic zone. Globally, 210Po deficiency increases as ocean productivity decreases in the upper 1,000 m through biological transfer to the upper trophic levels. Smaller 210Po deficiencies in the productive areas of the ocean appear to be related to relatively active bacterial remineralization. Unusually high activities of 210Po are often found in the suboxic and anoxic waters in association with S, Mn, and Fe redox cycles. As many details of these processes remain elusive and under debate, we propose additional studies that should be conducted.

Keywords

Particulate Organic Carbon 210Po Activity 210Pb Activity Surface Microlayer 210Po Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Bacon MP, Elzerman AW (1980) Enrichment of 210Pb and 210Po in the sea-surface microlayer. Nature 284:332–334Google Scholar
  2. Bacon MP, Spencer DW, Brewer PG (1976) Pb-210/Ra-226 and Po-210/Pb-210 disequilibria in seawater and suspended particulate matter. Earth Planet Sci Lett 32:277–296Google Scholar
  3. Bacon MP, Huh CA, Fleer AP et al (1985) Seasonality in the flux of natural radionuclides and plutonium in the deep Sargasso Sea. Deep Sea Res 32:273–286Google Scholar
  4. Bacon MP, Belastock RA, Tecotzky M et al (1988) Lead-210 and polonium-210 in ocean water profiles of the continental shelf and slope south of New England. Cont Shelf Res 8:841–853Google Scholar
  5. Balistrieri LS, Murray JW, Paul B (1995) The geochemical cycling of stable Pb, 210Pb, and 210Po in seasonally anoxic Lake Sammamish, Washington, USA. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 59:4845–4861Google Scholar
  6. Bangnall KW (1957) Chemistry of the rare radioelements. Academic, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Barceloux DG (1999) Selenium. Clin Toxicol 37:145–172Google Scholar
  8. Baskaran M (2011) Po-210 and Pb-210 as atmospheric tracers and global atmospheric Pb-210 fallout: a review. J Envion Radioact 102:500–513Google Scholar
  9. Baskaran M, Shaw GE (2001) Residence time of arctic haze aerosols using the concentrations and activity ratios of 210Po, 210Pb and 7Be. J Aerosol Sci 32:443–452Google Scholar
  10. Baskaran M, Hong GH, Santschi PH (2009) Radionuclide analysis in seawater. In: Wurl O (ed) Practical guidelines for the analysis of seawater. CRC Press, Boca Raton, pp 259–304Google Scholar
  11. Beasley TM, Eagle RJ, Jokela TA (1973) Polonium-210, lead-210 and stable lead in marine organisms. Q Summ Rep Hlth Saf Lab 273:2–36Google Scholar
  12. Bennett JT, Krishnaswami S, Turekian KK et al (1982) The uranium and thorium decay series nuclides in Mt. St. Helens effusive. Earth Planet Sci Lett 60:61–69Google Scholar
  13. Benoit G, Hemond HF (1990) 210Po and 210Pb remobilization from lake sediments in relation to iron and manganese cycling. Environ Sci Technol 24:1224–1234Google Scholar
  14. Carvalho FP (1988) Polonium-210 in marine organisms: a wide range of natural radiation dose domains. Radiat Prot Dosim 24:113–117Google Scholar
  15. Carvalho FP (1990) Contribution a a l’etude du cycle du polonium-210 et du plomb-210 dans l’ environnement. These de Doctorat, Universitè de Nice-Sophia AntipolisGoogle Scholar
  16. Carvalho FP (1995a) 210Pb and 210Po in sediments and suspended matter in the Tagus estuary, Portugal. Local enhancement of natural levels by wastes from phosphate ore processing industry. Sci Total Environ 159:201–214Google Scholar
  17. Carvalho FP (1995b) Origins and concentrations of 222Rn, 210Pb, 210Bi and 210Po in the surface air at Lisbon, Portugal, at the Atlantic edge of the European continental landmass. Atmos Environ 29(15):1809–1819Google Scholar
  18. Carvalho FP, Fowler SW (1994) A double-tracer technique to determine the relative importance of water and food as sources of polonium-210 to marine prawns and fish. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 103:251–264Google Scholar
  19. Carvalho FP, Oliveira JM, Lopes I et al (2007) Radionuclides from past uranium mining in rivers of Portugal. J Environ Radioact 98:298–314Google Scholar
  20. Chasteen TG, Bentley R (2003) Biomethylation of selenium and tellurium: microorganisms and plants. Chem Rev 103:1–25Google Scholar
  21. Chatterjee A, Bhattacharya B, Das R (2001) Temporal and organ-specific variability of selenium in marine organisms from the eastern coast of India. Adv Environ Res 5:167–174Google Scholar
  22. Cherrier J, Burnett WC, LaRock PA (1995) The uptake of polonium and sulfur by bacteria. Geomicrobiol J 13:103–115Google Scholar
  23. Cherry RD, Heyraud M (1981) Polonium-210 content of marine shrimp: variation with biological and environmental factors. Mar Biol 65:165–175Google Scholar
  24. Cherry RD, Heyraud M (1982) Evidence of high natural radiation doses in certain mid-water oceanic organisms. Science 218:54–56Google Scholar
  25. Cherry MI, Cherry RD, Heyraud M (1987) Polonium-210 and lead-210 in Antarctic marine biota and sea water. Mar Biol 96:441–449Google Scholar
  26. Cherry RD, Heyraud M, James AG (1989) Diet prediction in common clupeoid fish using polonium-210 data. J Environ Radioact 10:47–65Google Scholar
  27. Chung Y, Finkel R (1988) 210Po in the western Indian Ocean: distributions, disequilibria, and partitioning between dissolved and particulate phases. Earth Planet Sci Lett 88:232–240Google Scholar
  28. Chung Y, Wu T (2005) Large 210Po deficiency in the northern South China Sea. Cont Shelf Res 25:1209–1224Google Scholar
  29. Church TM, Sarin MM (2008) U- and Th-series nuclides in the atmosphere: supply, exchange, scavenging, and applications to aquatic processes. In: Krishnaswami S, Cochran JK (eds)  Chapter 2 radioactivity in the environment, Elsevier, Amsterdam, vol 13, p 11–47
  30. Cochran JK, Bacon MP, Krishnaswami S (1983) Pb-210, Po-210 distributions in the central and eastern Indian Ocean. Earth Planet Sci Lett 65:433–452Google Scholar
  31. Connan O, Boust D, Billon G et al (2009) Solid partitioning and solid–liquid distribution of 210Po and 210Pb in marine anoxic sediments: roads of Cherbourg at the northwestern France. J Environ Radioact 100:905–913Google Scholar
  32. Fisher NS, Burns KA, Cherry RD et al (1983) Accumulation and cellular distribution of 241Am, 210Po, and 210Pb in two marine algae. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 11:233–237Google Scholar
  33. Friedrich J, Rutgers van der Loeff M (2002) A two-tracer (210Po-234Th) approach to distinguish organic carbon and biogenic silica export flux in the Antarctic circumpolar current. Deep Sea Res Ι 49:101–120Google Scholar
  34. Gaffney JS, Marley NA, Cunningham MM (2004) Natural radionuclides in fine aerosols in the Pittsburgh area. Atmos Environ 38:3191–3200Google Scholar
  35. Gauthier PJ, Le Gloarec MF, Condomines M (2000) Degassing processes at Stromboli volcano inferred from short-lived disequilibria (210Pb-210Bi-210Po) in volcanic gases. Earth Planet Sci Lett 102:1–19Google Scholar
  36. Gill J, Williams R, Bruland K (1985) Eruption of basalt and andesite lava degasses 222Rn and 210Po. Geophys Res Lett 12(1):17–20Google Scholar
  37. Harada K, Burnett WC, LaRock PA et al (1989) Polonium in Florida groundwater and its possible relationship to the sulfur cycle and bacteria. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 53:143–150Google Scholar
  38. Heyraud M (1982) Contribution a l’etude du polonium-210 et du plomb-210 dans les organisms marins et leur environnement. These de Dotorat d’Etat, Univ, Paris VIGoogle Scholar
  39. Heyraud M, Cherry RD (1979) Polonium-210 and Lead-210 in marine food chains. Mar Biol 52:227–236Google Scholar
  40. Heyraud M, Cherry RD (1983) Correlation of 210Po and 210Pb enrichments in the sea-surface microlayer with neuston biomass. Cont Shelf Res 1:283–293Google Scholar
  41. Heyraud M, Cherry RD, Dowdle EB (1987) The subcellular localization of natural 210Po in the hepatopancreas of the rock lobster (Jasus lalandii). J Environ Radioact 5:249–260Google Scholar
  42. Hussain N, Church TM, Burnett WC (1993) Volatile polonium in Floridan groundwater. AGU Abstract H22D-5. Fall meeting, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  43. Hussain N, Ferdelman TG, Church TM (1995) Bio-volatilization of polonium: results from laboratory analyses. Aquat Geochem 1:175–188Google Scholar
  44. IAEA (2009) A procedure for the determination of Po-210 in water samples by alpha spectrometry. In: IAEA analytical quality in nuclear applications No. IAEA/AQ/12. International Atomic Energy Agency, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  45. Kharkar AG, Thomson J, Turekian KK et al (1976) Uranium and thorium decay series nuclides in plankton from the Caribbean. Limmol Oceanogr 21:294–299Google Scholar
  46. Kim G (2001) Large deficiency of polonium in the oligotrophic ocean’s interior. Earth Planet Sci Lett 192:15–21Google Scholar
  47. Kim G, Church TM (2001) Seasonal biogeochemical fluxes of 234Th and 210Po in the upper Sargasso Sea: influence from atmospheric iron deposition. Global Biogeochem Cy 15(3):651–661Google Scholar
  48. Kim G, Hussain N, Church TM et al (1999) A practical and accurate method for the determination of 234Th simultaneously with 210Po and 210Pb in seawater. Talanta 49:851–858Google Scholar
  49. Kim G, Hussain N, Scudlark JR et al (2000) Factors influencing the atmospheric depositional fluxes of stable Pb, 210Pb, and 7Be into Chesapeake Bay. J Atmos Chem 36:65–79Google Scholar
  50. Kim G, Hong YL, Jang J et al (2005a) Evidence for anthropogenic 210Po in the urban atmosphere of Seoul, Korea. Environ Sci Technol 39:1519–1522Google Scholar
  51. Kim G, Kim SJ, Harada K et al (2005b) Enrichment of excess 210Po in anoxic ponds. Environ Sci Technol 39:4894–4899Google Scholar
  52. Lambert G, Buisson A, Sanak J (1979) Modification of the atmospheric polonium-210 to lead-210 ratios by volcanic emissions. J Geophys Res 84(C11):6980–6986Google Scholar
  53. Lambert G, Ardouin B, Polian G (1982) Volcanic output of long-lived radon daughter. J Geophys Res 87:11103–11108Google Scholar
  54. Lambert G, Le C, Ardouin MF et al (1985) Volcanic emission of radionuclides and magma dynamics. Earth Planet Sci Lett 76:185–192Google Scholar
  55. LaRock PL, Hyun JH, Boutelle S (1996) Bacterial mobilization of polonium. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 60:4321–4328Google Scholar
  56. Liu DL, Yang YP, Hu MH (1987) Selenium content of marine food chain organisms from the coast of China. Mar Environ Res 22:51–165Google Scholar
  57. Masque P, Sanchez-Cabeza JA, Bruach JM et al (2002) Balance and residence times of 210Pb and 210Po in surface waters of the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea. Cont Shelf Res 22:2127–2146Google Scholar
  58. McNeary D, Baskaran M (2007) Residence times and temporal variations of 210Po in aerosols and precipitation from southeastern Michigan, United States. J Geophys Res 112:D04208. doi: 10.1029/2006JD007639 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Momoshima N, Song LX, Osaki S et al (2001) Formation and emission of volatile polonium compound by microbial activity and polonium methylation with methylcobalamin. Environ Sci Technol 35:2956–2960Google Scholar
  60. Moore HE, Martell EA, Poet SE (1976) Source of polonium-210 in atmosphere. Environ Sci Technol 10:586–591Google Scholar
  61. Moroder L (2005) Isosteric replacement of sulfur with other chalcogens in peptides and proteins. J Peptide Sci 11:187–214Google Scholar
  62. Murray JW, Paul B, Dunne J et al (2005) 234Th, 210Pb, 210Po and stable Pb in the central equatorial Pacific: tracers for particle cycling. Deep Sea Res Ι 52:2109–2139Google Scholar
  63. Neto AN, Mazzilli B (1998) Evaluation of 210Po and 210Pb in some mineral spring waters in Brazil. J Environ Radioact 41:11–18Google Scholar
  64. Nho EY, Ardouin B, Le Cloarec MF et al (1996) Origins of 210Po in the atmosphere at Lamto, Ivory coast: biomass burning and Saharan dusts. Atmos Environ 30(20):3705–3714Google Scholar
  65. Nieboer E, Richardson DHS (1980) The replacement of the nondescript term “heavy metals” by a biologically and chemically significant classification of metal ions. Environ Pollut 1:3–26Google Scholar
  66. Nolan C, Whitehead N, Teyssié JL (1991) Tellurium speciation in seawater and accumulation by marine phytoplankton and crustaceans. J Environ Radioact 13:217–233Google Scholar
  67. Nozaki Y, Tsunogai S (1973) A simultaneous determination of lead-210 and polonium-210 in sea water. Anal Chim Acta 64:209–216Google Scholar
  68. Nozaki Y, Ikuta N, Yashima M (1990) Unusually large 210Po deficiency relative to 210Pb in the Kurashio current of the East China and Philippine Seas. J Geophys Res 95:5321–5329Google Scholar
  69. Nozaki Y, Zhang J, Takeda A (1997) 210Pb and 210Po in the equatorial Pacific and the Bering Sea: the effects of biological productivity and boundary scavenging. Deep Sea Res II 44:2203–2220Google Scholar
  70. Obota H, Nozaki Y, Alibo DS et al (2004) Dissolved Al, In, and Ce in the eastern Indian Ocean and the Southeast Asian Seas in comparison with the radionuclides 210Pb and 210Po. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 68:1035–1048Google Scholar
  71. Pichlmayer F, Schoner W, Seibert P et al (1998) Stable isotope analysis for characterization of pollutants at high elevation alpine sites. Atmos Environ 32:4075–4086Google Scholar
  72. Poet SE, Moore HE, Martell EA (1972) Lead-210, bismuth-210, and polonium-210 in the atmosphere; accurate ratio measurement and application to aerosol residence time determination. J Geophys Res 77:6515–6527Google Scholar
  73. Rees CE (1970) The sulfur-isotope balance of the ocean, an improved model. Earth Planet Sci Lett 7:366–370Google Scholar
  74. Ruberu SR, Liu YG, Perera SK (2007) Occurrence and distribution of 210Pb and 210Po in selected California groundwater wells. Health Phys 92:432–441Google Scholar
  75. Rubin KH, Macdougall JD, Perfit MR (1994) 210Po-210Pb dating of recent volcanic eruption on the sea floor. Nature 368:841–844Google Scholar
  76. Sarin MM, Bhushan R, Rengarajan R et al (1992) The simultaneous determination of 238U series nuclides in seawater: results from the Arabian Sea and Bay of Bengal. Indian J Mar Sci 21:121–127Google Scholar
  77. Sarin MM, Kim G, Church TM (1999) 210Po and 210Pb in the South-equatorial Atlantic: distribution and disequilibria in the upper 500 m. Deep Sea Res II 46:907–917Google Scholar
  78. Seiler RL (2010) 210Po in Nevada groundwater and its relation to gross alpha radioactivity. Ground Water. doi: 10.1111/J.1745-6584.2010.00688
  79. Shannon LV, Cherry RD, Orren MJ (1970) Polonium-210 and lead-210 in the marine environment. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 34:701–711Google Scholar
  80. Shimmield GB, Ritchie GD, Fileman TW (1995) The impact of marginal ice zone processes on the distribution of 210Pb, 210Po, and 234Th and implications for new production in the Bellingshausen Sea, Antarctica. Deep Sea Res II 42:1313–1335Google Scholar
  81. Skwarzec B (1988) Accumulation of 210Po in selected species of Baltic fish. J Environ Radioact 8:111–118Google Scholar
  82. Stewart GM, Fisher NS (2003) Experimental studies on the accumulation of polonium-210 by marine phytoplankton. Limnol Oceanogr 48:1193–1201Google Scholar
  83. Stewart GM, Fowler SW, Teyssie JL et al (2005) Contrasting transfer of polonium-210 and lead-210 across three trophic levels in marine plankton. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 290:27–33Google Scholar
  84. Stewart GM, Cochran JK, Xue J et al (2007) Exploring the connection between 210Po and organic matter in the northwestern Mediterranean. Deep Sea Res Ι 54:415–427Google Scholar
  85. Stewart GM, Moran SB, Lomas MW (2010) Seasonal POC fluxes at BATS estimated from 210Po deficits. Deep Sea Res Ι 57:113–124Google Scholar
  86. Su CC, Huh CA (2002) Atmospheric 210Po anomaly as a precursor of volcano eruptions. Geophys Res Lett 29(5). doi: 10.1029/2001GL013856 Google Scholar
  87. Suh HL, Kim SS, Go YB et al (1995) 210Po Accumulation in the Pelagic Community of Yongil Bay, Korea (Korean). J Korean Fish Soc 28:219–226Google Scholar
  88. Swarzenski PW, McKee BA, Sørensen K et al (1999) 210Pb and 210Po, manganese and iron cycling across the O2/H2S interface of a permanently anoxic fjord: Framvaren, Norway. Mar Chem 67:199–217Google Scholar
  89. Talbot RW, Andren AW (1984) Seasonal variations of 210Pb and 210Po concentrations in an oligotrophic lake. Geochim Cosmochim Acta 48:2053–2063Google Scholar
  90. Thomson J, Turekian KK (1976) 210Po and 210Pb distribution ocean water profiles from the eastern South Pacific. Earth Planet Sci Lett 32:297–303Google Scholar
  91. Turekian KK, Kharkar DP, Thomson J (1974) The fates of 210Pb and 210Po in the ocean surface. J Rech Atmos 8:639–646Google Scholar
  92. Turekian KK, Nozaki Y, Benninger LK (1977) Geochemistry of atmospheric radon and radon products. Ann Rev Earth Planet Sci 5:227–255Google Scholar
  93. Vilenskii VD (1970) The influence of natural radioactive atmospheric dust in determining the mean stay time of lead-210 in the troposphere. Atmos Ocean Phys 6:307–310Google Scholar
  94. Waska H, Kim S, Kim G et al (2008) Distribution patterns of chalogens (S, Se, Te, 210Po) in various tissues of a squid, Todarodes pacificus. Sci Total Environ 392:218–224Google Scholar
  95. Zuo Z, Eisma D (1993) 210Pb and 210Po distributions and disequilibrium in the coastal and shelf waters of the southern North Sea. Cont Shelf Res 13:999–1022Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Guebuem Kim
    • 1
  • Tae-Hoon Kim
    • 1
  • Thomas M. Church
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Earth and Environmental SciencesSeoul National UniversitySeoulSouth Korea
  2. 2.College of Earth, Ocean, and EnvironmentUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

Personalised recommendations