Our research project is being conducted in the Bryansk (west-central) region of Russia. The study is focused on the role of earthworms in reducing the amount of Cesium-137 in soil. In our research we have compared the soils of polluted and non-polluted territories; in regions populated by earthworms and in areas where earthworms are not present. In the first part of our study, we have studied the migration of Cesium-137 radionuclides within a soil profile, and in the second part, we will attempt to determine factors causing their movement.
Our research to date shows that earthworms are capable of decreasing the accumulation of radionuclides in plants by a statistically significant factor of 1.5 to 1.7. As a result of this research project, we hope to provide scientific proof that earthworms can be used for bioremediation of soils contaminated with radionuclides. In other words, through the use of earthworms, it will be possible to reduce the migration of radionuclides from soil to plant to people, thereby improving the health of individuals living in radioactively polluted regions.
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