1067-4136/05/3604- © 2005 Pleiades Publishing, Inc.
Russian Journal of Ecology, Vol. 36, No. 4, 2005, pp. 249–258. Translated from Ekologiya, No. 4, 2005, pp. 275–285.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2005 by Geras’kin, Vasil’ev, Dikarev, Udalova, Evseeva, Dikareva, Zimin.
Considerable efforts have been made recently to
create an expedient system for monitoring the state of
natural ecosystems. The traditional approach to this
problem involves air, water, and soil sampling and rou-
tine laboratory analysis of the samples by chemical and
physical methods. However, such estimations entail too
much uncertainty. For example, this approach does not
ensure the necessary accuracy in estimating the total
radiation dose from all sources or the expected toxic
and mutagenic effects of several adverse factors acting
Most methods of chemical analysis are based on
quantitative estimation of the concentrations of certain
elements and their compounds, which makes it neces-
sary to know a priori the composition of environmental
pollutants. Moreover, however accurate the chemical
and physical methods for the analysis of technogenic
impact on the environment might be, there are always
many more environmental pollutants, both existing and
newly formed, than the available monitoring methods
Another approach is based on the analysis of the in
situ responses of animals, plants, and microorganisms
to environmental factors. Methods developed within
the framework of the bioindication approach allow spe-
cialists to obtain direct information on the total hazard
to the biota created by all factors, including those not
detected by the agencies responsible for monitoring
technogenic environmental pollution.
From the early 1970s, several authoritative interna-
tional organizations have recommended higher plants
as indicators for mutation screening and the monitoring
of genotoxic substances (Grant, 1999). Most protocols
recommend transfer indicator species (
, etc.) to the test grounds where they are
exposed to the technogenic factors studied. Although
this method is very sensitive, it also has some draw-
, 2003). To use plants from natural
populations is the best approach to the assessment and
prognosis of the state of natural ecosystems. Biological
monitoring deals with characteristics of an inherently
stochastic process; therefore, it is advisable to analyze
the genetic consequences of technogenic environmen-
tal pollution at the population level.
Countries that possess nuclear technologies are now
facing the problem of storage and processing of the
constantly increasing amount of radioactive waste.
Facilities for radioactive waste storage are one of the
main potential sources of hazard to humans and the
biota related to the use of nuclear energy. In this study,
Bioindication-based Estimation of Technogenic Impact
L. Populations in the Vicinity
of a Radioactive Waste Storage Facility
S. A. Geras’kin*, D. V. Vasil’ev*, V. G. Dikarev*,
A. A. Udalova*, T. I. Evseeva**, N. S. Dikareva*, and V. L. Zimin***
*All-Russia Research Institute of Agricultural Radiology and Agroecology,
Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Obninsk, Kaluga oblast, 249020 Russia
**Institute of Biology, Komi Research Center, Ural Division,
Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Kommunisticheskaya 28, Syktyvkar, 167982 Komi Republic, Russia
***Khlopin Radium Institute, St. Petersburg, Russia
Received August 24, 2004
—The spectrum and frequency of cytogenetic aberrations in the reproductive (seeds) and vegetative
(foliage) organs of Scotch pine (
L.) have been studied in the vicinity of the LSK Radon facility
for radioactive waste storage and processing and in a 30-km zone around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant.
The results indicate that the pine populations of these regions are exposed to mutagenic factors. In contrast to
the 30-km Chernobyl zone, the increased environmental mutagenicity in the vicinity of LSK Radon and in the
center of the city of Sosnovyi Bor is mainly accounted for by chemical factors. The results of additional acute
-irradiation have shown an increased radiation resistance of Scotch pine seeds from the LSK Radon and Sos-
novyi Bor populations. Regression analysis demonstrated a signiﬁcant increase in the cytogenetic aberration
rate in plants from the experimental plots throughout the study period (1997–2002).
: biological monitoring, Scotch pine, chromosome aberrations, industrial pollution, radioactive waste
storage facility, Chernobyl accident.