Impact of fertilizers on the uptake of 226Ra, 232Th, and 40K by pot-grown rice plants

Document Type : Original Research Paper


School of Physics, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Penang, 11800, Malaysia



Fertilizers usually enhance potassium (K) content and other naturally occurring radioactive materials in agricultural fields that eventually enter the human food chain through plants. In this study, pot-grown rice plants planted in soil that is relatively high in natural radioactive content was used to estimate the individual influence of fertilizer applications on the uptake of 226Ra, 232Th, and 40K using gamma-ray spectrometry. Three types of common fertilizers used in rice cultivation (with percentages) 17.5N:15.5P:10K, 17N:3P:25K+2MgO, and 46N (i.e., urea) were separately added to the potted-rice plants which were in three different growth stages: emergence stage (10 days), maximum tillering stage (40 days), and initiation stage (70 days). Fertilizers at various concentrations (0, 100, 200, 300, and 400 mg kg–1) were applied in the first stage of plant growth, whereas only 200 mg kg–1 fertilizer was applied in the second and third stages. Results showed that the uptake of 226Ra, 232Th, and 40K by rice grains was affected by different concentrations of fertilizer and its application time. However, these findings suggested insignificant health risk related to the ingestion dose of grains treated with selected fertilizers.


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