Intestinal bacteria as powerful trapping lifeforms for the elimination of radioactive cesium

Kazuki Saito, Kengo Kuroda, Rie Suzuki, Yasushi Kino, Tsutomu Sekine, Hisashi Shinoda, Hideaki Yamashiro, Tomokazu Fukuda, Jin Kobayashi, Yasuyuki Abe, Junko Nishimura, Yusuke Urushihara, Hiroshi Yoneyama, Manabu Fukumoto, Emiko Isogai

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6 Citations (Scopus)


In March 2011, an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant led to major problems, including the release of radionuclides such as Cesium (Cs)-137 into the environment. Ever since this accident, Cs-137 in foods has become a serious problem. In this study, we determined the concentration of Cs-137 in the feces, urine, and ruminal contents of cattle and demonstrated the possibility of its elimination from the body by intestinal bacteria. The results revealed a high Cs-137 concentration in the feces; in fact, this concentration was higher than that in skeletal muscles and other samples from several animals. Furthermore, intestinal bacteria were able to trap Cs-137, showing an uptake ratio within the range of 38-81% in vitro. This uptake appeared to be mediated through the sodium-potassium (Na+-K+) ion pump in the bacterial cell membrane. This inference was drawn based on the fact that the uptake ratio of Cs-137 was decreased in media with high potassium concentration. In addition, it was demonstrated that intestinal bacteria hindered the trapping of Cs-137 by the animal. Cattle feces showed high concentration of Cs-137 and intestinal bacteria trapped Cs-137. This study is the first report showing that intestinal bacteria contribute to the elimination of Cs-137 from the body.

Original languageEnglish
Article number70
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Cattle
  • Cesium (Cs)-137
  • Elimination
  • Feces
  • Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant
  • Gut microbiome
  • Ruminants


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