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Minerals 2015, 5(4), 849-862; doi:10.3390/min5040529

Formation of Microbial Mats and Salt in Radioactive Paddy Soils in Fukushima, Japan

1
Kahokugata Lake Institute, Kanazawa University, Na 9-9, Kitachujo, Tsubata, Kahokugun, Ishikawa 929-0342, Japan
2
Kaihatsu Gijutsu Consultant K.K., 3-33-3 Kawagishi, Chuo, Niigata 951-8133, Japan
3
Medical Research Institute, Kanazawa Medical University, 1-1 Daigaku, Uchinada, Kahokugun, Ishikawa 929-0342, Japan
4
217-6 Kakinouchi, Baba, Haramachi, Minami-soma, Fukushima 975-0063, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Karim Benzerara, Jennyfer Miot and Thibaud Coradin
Received: 21 September 2015 / Revised: 10 November 2015 / Accepted: 20 November 2015 / Published: 1 December 2015
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2844 KB, uploaded 1 December 2015]   |  

Abstract

Coastal areas in Minami-soma City, Fukushima, Japan, were seriously damaged by radioactive contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident that caused multiple pollution by tsunami and radionuclide exposure, after the Great East Japan Earthquake, on 11 March 2011. Some areas will remain no-go zones because radiation levels remain high. In Minami-soma, only 26 percent of decontamination work had been finished by the end of July in 2015. Here, we report the characterization of microbial mats and salt found on flooded paddy fields at Karasuzaki, Minami-soma City, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan which have been heavily contaminated by radionuclides, especially by Cs (134Cs, 137Cs), 40K, Sr (89Sr, 90Sr), and 91 or 95Zr even though it is more than 30 km north of the FDNPP. We document the mineralogy, the chemistry, and the micro-morphology, using a combination of micro techniques. The microbial mats were found to consist of diatoms with mineralized halite and gypsum by using X-ray diffraction (XRD). Particular elements concentrated in microbial mats were detected using scanning electron microscopy equipped with energy dispersive spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) and X-ray fluorescence (XRF). The objective of this contribution is to illustrate the ability of various diatoms associated with minerals and microorganisms which are capable of absorbing both radionuclides and stable isotopes from polluted paddy soils in extreme conditions. Ge semiconductor analysis of the microbial mats detected 134Cs, 137Cs, and 40K without 131I in 2012 and in 2013. Quantitative analysis associated with the elemental content maps by SEM-EDS indicated the possibility of absorption of radionuclide and stable isotope elements from polluted paddy soils in Fukushima Prefecture. In addition, radionuclides were detected in solar salts made of contaminated sea water collected from the Karasuzaki ocean bath, Minami-soma, Fukushima in 2015, showing high Zr content associated with 137Cs and 40K without 131I. The results obtained here provide evidence of the ability of microorganisms to grow in this salty contaminated environment and to immobilize radionuclides. It is possible that the capability of radioactive immobilization can be used to counteract the disastrous effects of radionuclide-polluted paddy soils. View Full-Text
Keywords: the Great East Japan Earthquake; tsunami; FDNPP accident; radionuclide; paddy soils; microbial mats; solar salt; XRD; XRF; SEM-EDS; Ge semiconductor; diatom; microorganisms; gypsum; halite; Zr content the Great East Japan Earthquake; tsunami; FDNPP accident; radionuclide; paddy soils; microbial mats; solar salt; XRD; XRF; SEM-EDS; Ge semiconductor; diatom; microorganisms; gypsum; halite; Zr content
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tazaki, K.; Shimojima, Y.; Takehara, T.; Nakano, M. Formation of Microbial Mats and Salt in Radioactive Paddy Soils in Fukushima, Japan. Minerals 2015, 5, 849-862.

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