To monitor radiocesium activity in skeletal muscle of live cattle, the animals were given radiocesium-contaminated feed continuously, then switched to contamination-free feed after radiocecium concentration in peripheral blood (PB) reached plateau. Radioactivity in skeletal muscles of neck and rump was measured by attaching the probe of a NaI survey meter closely on the body surface just above the muscle of the live cattle (external measurement). We validated the strong positive correlation between the value of the external measurement and radiocesium activity concentration of dissected muscle (r = 0.89, P < 0.001 for neck; r = 0.80, P < 0.001 for rump). Accumulation of radiocesium both in muscle and PB was proportional to the total amount of radiocesium cattle ingested. However, radioactivity concentration in PB was constant in the cattle that had continuously ingested radiocesium, lower than 2.0 × 105 Bq in total within 67 days from the beginning of radiocesium intake. In addition, the ratio of radiocesium activity in muscle to that in PB was lower during the time when radiocontaminated feed was ingested than that of contamination-free feed ingestion. Using the correlation of radioactivity between muscle and PB, we confirmed that a majority of the cattle in the ex-evacuation zone of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident, from 167 to 365 days after the accident occurred, were in the declining period of radiocesium intake.
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Vol. 192 • No. 6