Imaging of radiocesium uptake dynamics in a plant body by using a newly developed high-resolution gamma camera

Naoki Kawachi, Yong Gen Yin, Nobuo Suzui, Satomi Ishii, Toshihiro Yoshihara, Hiroshi Watabe, Seiichi Yamamoto, Shu Fujimaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


We developed a new gamma camera specifically for plant nutritional research and successfully performed live imaging of the uptake and partitioning of 137Cs in intact plants. The gamma camera was specially designed for high-energy gamma photons from 137Cs (662 keV). To obtain reliable images, a pinhole collimator made of tungsten heavy alloy was used to reduce penetration and scattering of gamma photons. A single-crystal scintillator, Ce-doped Gd3Al2Ga3O12, with high sensitivity, no natural radioactivity, and no hygroscopicity was used. The array block of the scintillator was coupled to a high-quantum efficiency position sensitive photomultiplier tube to obtain accurate images. The completed gamma camera had a sensitivity of 0.83 count s-1 MBq-1 for 137Cs with an energy window from 600 keV to 730 keV, and a spatial resolution of 23.5 mm. We used this gamma camera to study soybean plants that were hydroponically grown and fed with 2.0 MBq of 137Cs for 6 days to visualize and investigate the transport dynamics in aerial plant parts. 137Cs gradually appeared in the shoot several hours after feeding, and then accumulated preferentially and intensively in growing pods and seeds; very little accumulation was observed in mature leaves. Our results also suggested that this gamma-camera method may serve as a practical analyzing tool for breeding crops and improving cultivation techniques resulting in low accumulation of radiocesium into the consumable parts of plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)461-467
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Environmental Radioactivity
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jan 1


  • Cs
  • Gamma camera
  • Imaging
  • Plant
  • Radiocesium
  • Soybean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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