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Int J Radiat Biol. 2002 Oct;78(10):891-901.

Limits imposed by ionizing radiation on the long-term survival of trapped bacterial spores: beta radiation.

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Department of Physics, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, PA 19383, USA.



A model is presented for determining the survival time T(F) of a fraction F of a population of bacterial spores trapped within a fluid inclusion and subject to genetic damage from beta radiation.


The limiting factor to survival is the production of double-strand breaks (DSB) in the DNA resulting from single-track cleaving and from the cumulative effects of single-strand breaks (SSB) induced by the presence of ionizing radiation in the environment. The model considers the probability that radicals and ions formed by the passage of high-energy particles will interact with a DNA molecule and induce damage.


The survival time T(F) for a fraction F of a trapped population is a weak function of both F and the length L in base pairs of the genome. For irradiation due to a beta source trapped with the spores within the inclusion, the survival time is also inversely proportional to the concentration of the radionuclide, the dominant factor in limiting survival time.


The predictions of the model are consistent with measured DSB formation rates, the observed survival of trapped spores over time periods as long as 250 Ma, and track structure models which address low physical dose rates.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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