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Effectiveness of BIFEGE for Poultry Against Cesium-137 Contamination

Radionuclides can enter the human body with food, including poultry products. In turn, domestic fowl get radionuclides with food and water. BIFEGE has been developed to reduce the content of one of the most hazardous radionuclides, cesium-137 (137Cs), in poultry.

The efficiency of BIFEGE in relation to 137Cs for domestic fowl was assessed by a branch of the Institute of Radiation Safety and Ecology at the National Nuclear Center (Kazakhstan). The product was provided for the tests by TOO Aspan-Innovatsiya from the city of Astana.

The studies involved domestic fowl (broiler chickens) and were conducted as full-scale experiments in summer at the Trial Field of the Semipalatinsk Test Site. The chickens were 42-day old cage birds, with the live weight of 1,500-1,800 g.

They were divided into two groups (the control group and the experimental group) with 21 chickens in each group, similar in their appearance and body composition.

The daily diet for both groups included pure complete feed, clear water, and radioactively contaminated soil (30 g per head per day). The second experimental group of chickens also took BIFEGE (0.4 g on the basis of 0.2 g/1 kg of their live weight, as per the application methodology for the product). In 1, 2, 4, 8, 14, 28, and 42 days of feeding, the chickens were slaughtered (3 chickens each time).

Contaminated soil to be added to the chickens' feed was taken from the contaminated sites of the Trial Field, from an area of 9-10 m2 at a depth of 0-5 cm. The soil was sieved through a 500 µm sieve, put together, mixed, homogenized, and placed in a container. The amount was accumulated on the basis of 30 g per head per day given to the chickens during the experiment. The specific activity of 137Cs in the soil was determined by gamma (γ) spectrometry and found to be 1,520 ± 300 Bq/kg on average whereas the estimated daily intake by each bird was 45.6 Bq per head per day.

Meat samples for gamma spectrometry were prepared from the muscle tissue cut in full from the exterior and interior parts of the upper legs and breasts. In addition, the whole liver was used. The specific activity of 137Cs was determined from dried samples using a Canberra gamma spectrometer with a planar (BE2020) germanium detector. The measurements were taken under a routine procedure, with 137Cs detection limits in biological objects equal to 1 Bq/kg to an accuracy of 20% max.

The transition factor Kn for radionuclides entering poultry products from soil and water was estimated as the ratio of specific activity of an organ or tissue (Bq/kg) to the total amount of radionuclides entering the animal's body during one day (Bq/day): Kn  =   Аn/ Ар; where Аn is the concentration of radionuclides in an organ or tissue, Bq/kg; Ар is the amount of total daily intake of radionuclides in food, Bq/day.

It was found that varying amounts of radionuclides are accumulated in different tissues and organs of chickens. Measurements of the reference-level specific activity in 3 chickens showed that the initial values were less than the detection limits in almost all samples of chicken meat and liver.

The curves in the figures show the accumulation of radionuclides in chicken meat and liver over a long period of time.


The figures show heavy accumulation of radionuclides in the muscle tissue and the liver of the control group during the first 10 days, which is becoming less intensive after 14 days. The accumulation in the experimental group, that is, the one that took BIFEGE, was minor; here the curve turns into a plateau on the 14th day, with no further increase in the activity.

The 137Cs to meat transition factors were 0.18 for the control group and 0.04 for the chickens that took BIFEGE. The 137Cs to liver transition factors were 0.74 and 0.29, respectively.

The curve analysis shows that the concentration of 137Cs in meat was three to four times lower for the chicken that took BIFEGE as compared with the chicken from the control group. However, for the liver this proportion is somewhat different (2 times).

These data prove that BIFEGE helps to reduce absorption of 137Cs radionuclides in the body even at small intake concentrations, which demonstrates high efficiency of BIFEGE compared to other similar products.

 Based on:

Report by the Institute of Radiation Safety and Ecology, National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan "BIFEGE Performance Evaluation" 27 April 2016.