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Localization and chemical speciation of europium(III) in Brassica napus plants

Jessat, J.; John, W.; Moll, H.; Vogel, M.; Steudtner, R.; Drobot, B.; Hübner, R.; Stumpf, T.; Sachs, S.


For the reliable safety assessment of repositories of highly radioactive waste, further development of the modelling of radionuclide migration and transfer in the environment is necessary, which requires a deeper process understanding at the molecular level. Eu(III) is a non-radioactive analogue for trivalent actinides, which contribute heavily to radiotoxicity in a repository. For in-depth study of the interaction of plants with trivalent f elements, we investigated the uptake, speciation, and localization of Eu(III) in Brassica napus plants at two concentrations, 30 and 200 µM, as a function of the incubation time up to 72 h. Eu(III) was used as luminescence probe for combined microscopy and chemical speciation analyses of it in Brassica napus plants. The localization of bioassociated Eu(III) in plant parts was explored by spatially resolved chemical microscopy. Three Eu(III) species were identified in the root tissue. Moreover, different luminescence spectroscopic techniques were applied for an improved Eu(III) species determination in solution. In addition, transmission electron microscopy combined with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy was used to localize Eu(III) in the plant tissue, showing Eu-containing aggregates. By using this multi-method setup, a profound knowledge on the behavior of Eu(III) within plants and changes in its speciation could be obtained, showing that different Eu(III) species occur simultaneously within the root tissue and in solution.

Keywords: lanthanides; plants; laser spectroscopy; speciation; chemical microscopy; localization


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