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High levels of natural radioactivity in biota from deep-sea hydrothermal vents: a preliminary communication

Journal of Environmental Radioactivity / Volume 100, Issue 6, June 2009, Pages 522-526

Document type > *Article de revue

Keywords >

Research Unit > IRSN/DEI/SESURE/LERCM

Authors > CHARMASSON Sabine, SARRADIN Pierre-Marie, LE FAOUDER Antoine, AGARANDE Michèle, LOYEN Jeanne, DESBRUYERES Daniel

Publication Date > 01/06/2009

Summary

Hydrothermal deep-sea vent fauna is naturally exposed to a peculiar environment enriched in potentially toxic species such as sulphides, heavy metals and natural radionuclides. It is now well established that some of the organisms present in such an environment accumulate metals during their lifespan. Though only few radionuclide measurements are available, it seems likely that hydrothermal vent communities are exposed to high natural radiation doses. Various archived biological samples collected on the East Pacific Rise and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in 1996, 2001 and 2002 were analysed by ICP-MS in order to determine their uranium contents (238U, 235U and 234U). In addition 210Po–Pb were determined in 2 samples collected in 2002. Vent organisms are characterized by high U, and Po–Pb levels compared to what is generally encountered in organisms from outside hydrothermal vent ecosystems. Though the number of data is low, the results reveal various trends in relation to the site, the location within the mixing zone and/or the organisms' trophic regime.


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