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Bioindicators: Hyperaccumulators
#1
Hyperaccumulators are plants that have a higher than normal uptake of certain elements. Some of these plants are used for remediation to pull toxic or harmful  elements and substances from the earth.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperaccumulator

Table 3 lists Hyperaccumulators that uptake radionuclides:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperaccum...E2%80%93_3

The rest of the list:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_hyperaccumulators
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyperaccum...2_:_Nickel

I'm wondering if some of these hyperaccumulators could also be used as a bioindicator to check radioactive contamination in the environment. One that comes up multiple times on the list of hyperaccumulators is the common sunflower. I can attest to finding genetic deformities in my sunflowers the past few years, but I'm currently unable to do further testing to confirm if any uptake of radionuclides has taken place. However, I think it would be safe to say that growing sunflowers on your personal property can probably improve soil quality. One thing of concern is what to do with the plant remnants at the end of the season. Composing plants that have accumulated toxins or radionuclides may just recycle the problem back into the soil. Incineration may also not solve any problems either.
 
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#2
The most noticible ones on the Pacific West Coast are: mushrooms, moss, lichen, alge and molds.
 
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#3
Here's a bio-indicator for gamma radiation, spiderwort.  I have a small plot of spiderwort in my garden that I keep an eye on, but the flowers only bloom a few weeks in early summer.  I haven't noticed any color change but I don't know if I have the right variety.  

http://redrockcanyonopenspace.org/educat...piderwort/
Quote:One species of spiderwort has found a very unusual scientific application … as a radiation monitor. The stamen hairs of this spiderwort are each a chain of single cells, like beads on a sting. The stamen hairs grow by the successive addition of cells to the chain. In this particular species, the cells of the stamen hairs are usually pink. But, there is an occasional blue cell. The blue color is the result of a single point mutation in the cell’s genetic material. The likelihood of this mutation occurring is proportional to the radiation to which the cell is exposed. So, counting the number of blue cells in the stamen hairs gives an estimate of the radiation to which the flowers were exposed. Since the cells in each hair grow sequentially, the location along the stamen hairs of the blue cells tells when the radiation exposure occurred. This species of spiderwort was once planted around a nuclear power plant in Japan to monitor the release of radioactive material from the nuclear plant. Not only did the spiderworts tell how much radioactive material was released and when, they also told how the wind dispersed the radioactive material.
"The map is not the territory that it is a map of ... the word is not the thing being referred to."
 
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