Free access
Volume 27, Number 4, 1996
Page(s) 211 - 217
Apidologie 27 (1996) 211-217
DOI: 10.1051/apido:19960403

Transfer von 226Ra in den Honig und die mögliche Nutzung der Honigbiene (Apis meilifera) als Bioindikator im radioaktiv belasteten Uranabbaugebiet der Wismut

U. Horna, M. Helbiga, D. Molzahnb and E.J. Hentschela

a  Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Institut für Ernährung und Umwelt/Bienenkunde, Am Steiger 3, D-07743 Jena, Germany
b  Philipps-Universität Marburg, Bereich Kernchemie, Hans-Meerwein-Str, D-35043 Marburg, Germany

Abstract - The transfer of 226Ra to honey and the possible use of the honey bee as a bioindicator in the uranium mining area of the Wismut region
The uranium mining area of the Wismut region exhibits increasing values of radioactivity, of which the potential danger to both man and fauna has not yet been characterized. The use of the honey bee as a bioindicator for environmental pollution with different substances is known. But no investigations have been published on this problem with natural radioactive nuclides. In this work the population growth of honey bees was investigated in the radioactively contaminated area in comparison to a control area in the surroundings of Jena. For a period of 2 years (1993-1995) the population growth of the bee populations was estimated (Liebig, 1993). The statistical comparison (Mann-Whitney test, a = 0,10) of the relative decrease of the bee populations from October 1993 to April 1994 and October 1994 to March 1995 showed no significant difference between the control group and the bees in the Wismut area (table I). The activity of 226Ra in soil, plants and various kinds of honey was determined with y spectrometry. For the calculation of the transfer factors, only honeys were used which had a quantity of rape pollen greater than 70%. The transfer of 226Ra from soil into rape and from rape into honey was very small: soil/rape = 0.01-0.05; rape/honey = 0.05-0.17 (table II). Because the transfer factors are relatively constant it appears to be possible to draw a conclusion from the activity in the honey to the values in soil and plant. Investigations in a highly contaminated region are necessary for a conclusive statement about the use of honey bees as bioindicators for natural radionuclides. The activity of radionuclides in honeys from the Wismut area is very low so that the consumption of the honey is not dangerous for human.

Key words: Apis mellifera / natural radionuclide / soil-plant-honey transfer / bioindicator