Radionuclides: Accumulation and Transport in Plants

  • D. K. GuptaEmail author
  • S. Chatterjee
  • S. Datta
  • A. V. Voronina
  • C. Walther
Part of the Reviews of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology book series (RECT, volume 241)


Application of radioactive elements or radionuclides for anthropogenic use is a widespread phenomenon nowadays. Radionuclides undergo radioactive decays releasing ionizing radiation like gamma ray(s) and/or alpha or beta particles that can displace electrons in the living matter (like in DNA) and disturb its function. Radionuclides are highly hazardous pollutants of considerable impact on the environment, food chain and human health. Cleaning up of the contaminated environment through plants is a promising technology where the rhizosphere may play an important role. Plants belonging to the families of Brassicaceae, Papilionaceae, Caryophyllaceae, Poaceae, and Asteraceae are most important in this respect and offer the largest potential for heavy metal phytoremediation. Plants like Lactuca sativa L., Silybum marianum Gaertn., Centaurea cyanus L., Carthamus tinctorius L., Helianthus annuus and H. tuberosus are also important plants for heavy metal phytoremediation. However, transfer factors (TF) of radionuclide from soil/water to plant ([Radionuclide]plant/[Radionuclide]soil) vary widely in different plants. Rhizosphere, rhizobacteria and varied metal transporters like NRAMP, ZIP families CDF, ATPases (HMAs) family like P1B-ATPases, are involved in the radio-phytoremediation processes. This review will discuss recent advancements and potential application of plants for radionuclide removal from the environment.


Radionuclide Radio-phytoremediation Rhizosphere Metal transporters Uranium Caesium Radium 



Authors are thankful to Mrs. Swagata Chatterjee for making handmade figures. S.C. and S.D. are thankful to Director, DRDO, Assam, India. The authors apologize for the many colleagues who are not referenced in this work due to space limitations.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. K. Gupta
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. Chatterjee
    • 2
  • S. Datta
    • 2
  • A. V. Voronina
    • 3
  • C. Walther
    • 1
  1. 1.Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universität HannoverInstitut für Radioökologie und Strahlenschutz (IRS)HannoverGermany
  2. 2.Defence Research Laboratory, DRDOTezpurIndia
  3. 3.Department of Radiochemistry and Applied Ecology, Physical Technology InstituteUral Federal UniversityEkaterinburgRussia

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