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Monitoring of Radioactivity and Mineral Concentrations in Jamaican foods

Monitoring of Radioactivity and Mineral Concentrations in Jamaican foods

Dr. Phylicia Ricketts, Mr. Andre Gordon & Prof. Mitko Voutchkov
Faculty of Science and Technology
Pharmaceuticals, Nutraceuticals, Health and Well-Being


Minerals and Radioactive nuclides exist naturally in the environment and some are created by human activities. They are then absorbed by food where they can affect human health. Therefore it is essential to determine the concentration of radioactive elements and minerals in the food. The purpose of this study wasto measure radionuclides and mineral contents that are present in popular Jamaican foods.


Several food samples were collectedfrom various parishes in Jamaica. They were classified into six (6) categories; (1) ground provision, (2) tea leaves, (3) vegetables, (4) dairy products, (5) fish, (6) meats. Each sample wasoven dried at 106oC for 24 hours. A high purity Germanium (HPGe) detector and the Genie 2000 software were used to determine the concentrations of radionuclides in the samples. The portable handheld Niton EDXRF analyser was used to determine mineral concentration.


The highest concentration of potassium-40 was found in tea leaves (615Bq/kg), while the lowest concentration was found in chicken (200Bq/kg). Milk powder was a good source of Iron, while the highest concentration of Zinc was found in meats.


HPGe and EXDRF are effective toolsto measure radionuclidesand mineral contents in Jamaican foods. Tea leaves provide a good source of potassium-40, which is comparable to the literature. Based on the results obtained the annual internal effective dose can be calculated from the amount of food consumed. This can provide information on long term minerals and radionuclides intake to the population.


Shanique Lindo, Delano Anderson, Christina Douglas, Zulieka Bullock, Oshane Hinds, Ronelle Robinson, Zoe Gordon, Delroy Depass, Kevin Fraser, Sherica Hall

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