Polonium-210 Analyses of Vegetables, Cured and Uncured Tobacco, and Associated Soils

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Science  24 Dec 1965:
Vol. 150, Issue 3704, pp. 1738-1739
DOI: 10.1126/science.150.3704.1738


Analysis of the edible portion of vegetables and samples of green leaf tobacco failed to show polonium-210. The cured samples of leaf tobacco and the soils that were analyzed all contained small quantities of the element. Muck soils contained three times as much Po210 as did mineral soils. Solutions used commonly to extract "available" forms of many mineral elements failed to extract a detectable amount of Po2l0. Indications are that Po210 or its radioactive precursors are not taken up from the soil directly by plant roots but rather by sorption in dead, moist plant materials at the atmosphere-plant interface.