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Selecting plants to minimise radiocaesium in the food chain

Escobar-Guti�rrez, Abraham J.; White, Philip J.; Escobar-Gutierrez, A; Swarup, Kamal; Willey, Neil; Bowen, Helen C.; Broadley, Martin R.


Abraham J. Escobar-Guti�rrez

Philip J. White

A Escobar-Gutierrez

Kamal Swarup

Neil Willey
Professor in Env Plant Physiology

Helen C. Bowen

Martin R. Broadley


Caesium (Cs) is an alkali metal with chemical properties similar to potassium (K). It has no known role in plant nutrition and it is not toxic to plants at the micromolar concentrations occurring naturally in soil solutions. However, two radioisotopes of Cs (134Cs and137Cs) are of environmental concern due to their relatively long half-lives, emissions of β and γ radiation during decay, and rapid incorporation into biological systems. There is considerable interest in remediating sites contaminated by these isotopes using phytoextraction and, since the produce from radiocaesium-contaminated areas may enter the food chain, the introduction of 'safe' crops that do not accumulate Cs. This article reviews the molecular mechanisms of Cs uptake by plants, and provides a perspective on strategies to develop: (1) plants that extract Cs efficiently from soils (for the phytoremediation of land), or (2) 'safe' crops that minimise the entry of radiocaesium directly into the human food chain.


Escobar-Gutiérrez, A. J., White, P. J., Swarup, K., Escobar-Gutierrez, A., Bowen, H. C., Willey, N., & Broadley, M. R. (2003). Selecting plants to minimise radiocaesium in the food chain. Plant and Soil, 249(1), 177-186.

Journal Article Type Conference Paper
Publication Date Feb 1, 2003
Deposit Date Feb 23, 2015
Journal Plant and Soil
Print ISSN 0032-079X
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 249
Issue 1
Pages 177-186
Keywords arabidopsis thaliana, Chernobyl, quantitative trait loci (QTL), phylogeny, remediation, simulation
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