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Environmental Engineering Research 2020;25(1): 29-35. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4491/eer.2018.329
Effects of radon on soil microbial community and their growth
Kyu-Yeon Lee, Seon-Yeong Park, and Chang-Gyun Kim 
Department of Environmental Engineering, INHA University, Incheon 22212, Republic of Korea
Corresponding Author: Chang-Gyun Kim ,Tel: +82-32-860-7561, Fax: +82-32-876-2351, Email: cgk@inha.ac.kr
Received: September 13, 2018;  Accepted: January 22, 2019.
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The aim of this study was to estimate the microbial metabolic activity of indigenous soil microbes under the radon exposure with different intensity and times in the secured laboratory radon chamber. For this purpose, the soil microbes were collected from radon-contaminated site located in the G county, Korea. Thereafter, their metabolic activity was determined after the radon exposure of varying radon concentrations of 185, 1,400 and 14,000 Bq/m3. The average depth variable concentrations of soil radon in the radon-contaminated site were 707, 860 and 1,185 Bq/m3 from 0, 15, and 30 cm in deep, respectively. Simultaneously, the soil microbial culture was mainly composed of Bacillus sp., Brevibacillus sp., Lysinibacillus sp., and Paenibacillus sp. From the radon exposure test, higher or lower radiation intensities compared to the threshold level attributed the metabolic activity of mixed microbial consortium to be reduced, whereas the moderate radiation intensity (i.e. threshold level) induced it to the pinnacle point. It was decided that radon radiation could instigate the microbial metabolic activity depending on the radon levels while they were exposed, which could consequently address that the certain extent of threshold concentration present in the ecosystem relevant to microbial diversity and population density to be more proliferated.
Keywords: Microbial viability | Radiation | Radon | Soil microorganism
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