Sci Rep. 2023 Aug 21;13(1):13575. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-38795-2.
This paper describes the experimental determination of concentration factors (CF) for nickel, ruthenium and antimony in the model diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum Bohlin (Bacillariophyceae), which was chosen as a representative of marine phytoplankton. Better determinations of these CF are needed to improve the modelling of marine ecosystems at release points, where radioactive pollutants enter the ecosystem, for more accurate predictions of radiation dose to humans caused by these pollutants. A literature study revealed that the currently implemented values of these CF are based on very scarce data, and a computational sensitivity study showed that the radiation dose caused by radioisotopes of these elements depend strongly on the phytoplankton CF. Nutrient-enriched water samples from Swedish coastal waters were used as a medium for growing of the diatom species P. tricornutum and radioactive isotopes of the studied elements were added to the cultures during the exponential growth phase. The radioactivity in the P. tricornutum and in the culture medium were measured separately and used for determination of CF. Conservative estimates of the CF based on this phytoplankton proxy on the present data are 6400 L/kg for nickel, 20,000 L/kg for ruthenium and 890 L/kg for antimony, with P. tricornutum biomass masses referring to dry weight. The estimates for nickel and ruthenium are similar to previously published values, which underpins the credibility of radiation dose calculations based on these values. The estimate for antimony is uncertain, but also, to our knowledge, represents the first published experimentally based data on this CF.