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Predicting inter-taxa differences in plant uptake of cesium-134/137

Willey, Neil; Tang, Shirong; Watt, Nicholas R.


Neil Willey
Professor in Env Plant Physiology

Shirong Tang

Nicholas R. Watt


For 134/137Cs, and many other soil contaminants, research into transfer to plants has focused on particular crops and phytoremediation candidates, producing uptake data for a small proportion of all plant taxa. Despite the significance of differences in uptake between plant taxa, the capacity of soil-to-plant transfer models to predict them is currently confined to those taxa for which data exist, there being no method to predict uptake by other taxa. We used residual maximum likelihood (REML) analysis on data from experiments (including 89 plant taxa from China plus 32 phytoremediation candidates) together with data from the literature, to construct a database of relative 134/137Cs concentrations in 273 plant taxa. The REML 134/137Cs concentrations in plants are not normally distributed but significantly clustered. Analysis of variance (ANOVA), coded with a recent ordinal phylogeny for flowering plants, showed that plant taxa do not behave independently for 134/137Cs concentration because 42 and 15% of inter-taxa differences are associated with phylogeny above the species and ordinal level, respectively. In general, Eudicots, and especially the Caryophyllales, Asterales, and Brassicales, have high 134/137Cs concentrations, while the Fabales and Magnoliids, in particular Poales, have low 134/137Cs concentrations. Plants of the stress-tolerant ruderal (S-R) growth strategy sensu Grime have, in general, high concentrations of Cs, while those of the competitive (C) and generalist (C-S-R) strategies have low concentrations, although these effects are less pronounced than those of phylogeny. Plant phylogeny and growth strategy might thus be used to predict a significant portion of inter-taxa differences in plant uptake of 134/137Cs. © ASA, CSSA, SSSA.


Willey, N., Tang, S., & Watt, N. R. (2005). Predicting inter-taxa differences in plant uptake of cesium-134/137. Journal of Environmental Quality, 34(5), 1478-1489.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 1, 2005
Journal Journal of Environmental Quality
Print ISSN 0047-2425
Publisher Crop Science Society of America
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 5
Pages 1478-1489
Keywords inter-taxa differences, plant uptake, Cesium-134/137
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Additional Information : Willey was Principal Investigator and wrote the paper. The funding for Watt's PhD studentship (BNFL) and Tang's visit from China (Leverhulme Trust) with numerous Chinese taxa was awarded to Willey. It was his idea that phylogeny might inform taxon selection for phytoremediation and that growth strategies might have an impact.