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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Long-term effects of single potassium fertilization on Cs-137 levels in plants and fungi in a boreal forest ecosystem

Rosén, Klas; Vinichuk, Mykhailo; Nikolova, Ivanka; Johanson, K.


We examined the long-term effects of a single application of potassium (K) fertilizer (100 kg K ha(-1)) in 1992 on Cs-137 uptake in a forest ecosystem in central Sweden. Cs-137 activity concentrations were determined in three low-growing perennial shrubs, heather (Calluna vulgaris), lingonberry (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) and bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), and in four wild fungal species (Cortinarius semisanguineus, Lactarius rufus, Rozites caperata and Suillus variegatus). Uptake of Cs-137 by plants and fungi growing on K-fertilized plots 17 years after application of the K fertilizer was significantly lower than in corresponding species growing in a non-fertilized control area. The Cs-137 activity concentration was 21 -58% lower in fungal sporocarps and 40-61% lower in plants in the K-fertilized area compared with the control. Over the study period, this decrease in Cs-137 activity concentration was more consistent in plants than in fungi, although the effect was statistically significant and strongly pronounced in all species. The effect of K fertilization in reducing Cs-137 activity concentration in fungi and plants decreased over time but was still significant in 2009,17 years after fertilization. This suggests that application of K fertilizer to forests is an appropriate and effective long-term measure to decrease radiocaesium accumulation in plants and fungi. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Bilberry; Fungi; Heather; Lingonberry; Potassium; Radiocaesium

Published in

Journal of Environmental Radioactivity
2011, volume: 102, number: 2, pages: 178-184

Authors' information

Rosén, Klas
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Nikolova, Ivanka
Johanson, K.

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences

Publication Identifiers


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