Inderscience Publishers

Use of nuclear techniques in the study of the behaviour of rare earth elements on the use of phosphogypsum in Cerrado agriculture

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Phosphogypsum (PG) is a by-product of phosphoric acid industry. In Brazil, this material has been used as a conditioner for soils with high levels of aluminium. Taking into account the presence of radionuclides and Rare Earth Elements (REEs) in this material, a research project has been conducted in order to investigate the impact of using PG in crops cultivated in Cerrado soils. For this purpose a set of greenhouse experiments has been conducted in two types of soil to determine the transfer factor of REEs from soil to crops. This paper reports results of mineralogical phases and REEs concentration in PG samples. The REE most present in PG samples was Ce (1730 ppm) followed by La (973 ppm) and Nd (791 ppm). Sm (85 ppm), Eu (29 ppm), Tb (8 ppm) and Yb (5 ppm) appear in smaller proportions. The main crystalline compound found in PG samples was gypsum (CaSO
4
.2H
2
O).

Keywords: phosphogypsum, REE, rare earth elements, neutron activation analysis, Brazil, aluminium, radionuclides, crop cultivation, agriculture, soil-crop transfer, soil conditioners, nuclear techniques

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