Entry, J.A., Lidia S. Watrud, and Mark Reeves. 1999. Accumulation of 137Cs and 90Sr from contaminated soil by three grass species inoculated with mycorrhizal fungi. Environmental Pollution 104:449-457.
The use of plants to accumulate low level radioactive waste from soil, followed by incineration of plant material to concentrate radionuclides may prove to be a viable and economical method of remediating contaminated areas. We tested the influence of arbuscular mycorrhizae on 137Cs and 90Sr uptake by bahia grass (Paspalum notatum), johnson grass (Sorgum halpense) and switch grass (Panicum virginatum) for the effectiveness on three different contaminated soil types. Exposure to 137Cs or 90SR over the course of the experiment did not affect above ground biomass of the three grasses. The above ground biomass of bahia, johnson and switch grass plants accumulated from 26.3 to 71.7% of the total amount of the 137Cs and from 23.8 to 88.7% of the total amount of the 90Sr added to the soil after three harvests. In each of the three grass species tested, plants inoculated with Glomus mosseae or Glomum intraradices had greater aboveground plant biomass, higher concentrations of 137Cs or 90Sr in plant tissue, % accumulation of 137Cs or 90Sr from soil and plant bioconcentration ratios at each harvest than those that did not receive mycorrhizal inoculation. Johnson grass had greater aboveground plant biomass, greater accumulation of 137Cs or 90Sr from soil and plant higher bioconcentration ratios with arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi than bahia grass and switch grass. The greatest accumulation of 137Cs and 90Sr was observed in johnson grass inoculated with G. Mosseae. Grasses can grow in wide geographical ranges that include a broad variety of edaphic conditions. The highly efficient removal of these radionuclides by these grass species after inoculation with arbuscular mycorrhizae supports the concept that remediation of radionuclide contaminated soils using mycorrhizal plants may present a viable strategy to remediate and reclaim sites contaminated with radionuclides.