Mushrooms Tell me I’m a Real Fungi

Hi all, this week has been marked by constant researching regarding the biological uptake of Americium-241 and Cesium-137. One of the primary variables I am interested in that determines the migration of Cs-137 through the soil is the recycling of Cs-137 due to fungi, plants and trees. I don’t think that this trend applies to Am-241, so we would expected the Am-241 peak to be at a lower depth than the Cs-137 peak. This is the case, however, the Cs-137 peak is still deeper than one would think knowing that the Cs-137 should be slowed down in the Organic layer or A horizon within the soil. This dilemma has sparked me to get a better understanding of the dynamics and timescales of recycling processes performed by plants and fungi. I have found a few beneficial paper, but it’s rather difficult to find the perfect papers because there are just SO many factors affecting this sort of study. The timescale, type of vegetation, extent of vegetation, soil conditions and other factors have influences on the rate of recycling, which means applying a past study to the research I am doing is complicated.

One exciting development I plan to begin soon is to collect plant and fungi samples so that I can determine the content of both Cs-137 and Am-241 in these specimens. While most papers only looked at the biological uptake of Cs-137, I will be able to create my own data that compares the two isotopes! The plant samples will likely be branches and leave samples from trees near my College Woods core sampling site. The mushroom collection should be much more interesting! Through working at the Williamsburg Farmer’s Market, I met a mushroom vendor who owns a farm in Goochland. I am going to see if I can visit it and collect a variety of mushrooms to measure in the gamma lab!


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