J R Inst Public Health. Aug; THE USE OF RADIOISOTOPES IN AGRICULTURE, INDUSTRY AND MEDICINE. FRIZELLE GM. PMID: Radioisotopes have played an important role in improving productivity in agriculture in a sustainable manner. Ionizing radiation is very useful for preservation of agricultural and food products. Many products used in our daily life have in some way benefited from radiation during their production. Radioisotopes emit some extraordinary types of energy in form of rays (alpha, beta and gamma), which are very helpful to human beings in minute quantity.


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For improving productivity as well as for protection of crop plants against various diseasesdifferent types of agro-chemicals and other sources are used.

In these days, radiation from radioisotopes are employed in crop radioisotopes in agriculture.


Ionizing radiations are inestimatable value for obtaining an insight into ecological habits of insects. With the aid of radioisotopes radioisotopes in agriculture can find out population density, the maturity rate radioisotopes in agriculture different stages of the life cycle, modes of dispersal, movement and migration, flight range hibernating places, egg laying sites, relation to predators.

Reducing loss in growing radioisotopes in agriculture Every year radioisotopes in agriculture large part of the potential harvest is destroyed by diseases, pests and virus which attack the growing crops. Potential food supplies and other agricultural products are subject to heavy losses in all phases of production, distribution, and storage through fungal and bacterial infection and the ravages of insect pests, and it is by combatting those that the most immediate and spectacular improvements in supplies can be achieved.

No valid estimate of total world losses is possible, but they are undoubtedly of immense magnitude.

Uses of Radioisotopes

It has been said that even in such relatively developed countries as the United Kingdom the work of over 51, skilled farm workers is radioisotopes in agriculture each year, and that in the United States of America losses caused to farm products by insects, weeds and plant diseases are equivalent to millions of dollars per year.

Most of these losses can be avoided by the timely application of effect radioisotopes in agriculture measures. Gamma rays have also been used to destroy insects and pests which infest stored food grains.

Experiment in many countries have shown that the irradiated wheat and rice do no undergo any significant change in taste or nutritional properties provided the dose of gamma rays is controlled.


Gamma -rays radioisotopes in agriculture not induce any radioactivity so that irradiated grains are totally harmless Islam et al. Modern grain-irradiators using cobalt are therefore, being installed and planned by many countries particularly those with tropical climates, where the spoilage in stored grains is as high as 10 percent One of the great advantages of this method over chemical fumigation is that there is no danger of residual toxicity left by the radioisotopes in agriculture chemicals and the cleaning is so thorough that re-infestation is considerably delayed.

This is because the radiation destroy not only the live insects but their eggs and pupae also. The perishable foodstuffs such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish are particularly subject to spoilage in distribution and storage Morris and Jessup, Sprouting in potatoes and onions is inhibited by exposure to gamma rays and certain varieties of oranges, strawberries etc.

The shelf life of fresh fish is extended by several days when treated with gamma rays and poultry products remain preserved when exposed to cobalt Similarly, the deterioration resulting from fungal infections and the attacks of various insect pests of major concern in timber utilization.

Evidently there is great scope for the adoption of control measures and these can be applied relatively and easily at a cost which is usually but a small fraction of the value of the returns.

Already radioisotopes and radiation show promise of making important contributions to the development of improved control measures which would markedly improve the supply situation.


Thus, the destructive power of radiation has been used to eliminate insect infections in grain and cereal products at costs which compare favourably radioisotopes in agriculture of the more conventional produces such as fumigation.

The sprouting of potatoes has been successfully inhibited as result of the effects of radiation, on the radioisotopes in agriculture system, thus permitting transportation under less stringent conditions than are usually required and extending storage life by many months.


Much attention has also being given to the possibility of food preservation through cold sterilization by irradiation at normal temperatures.

Evidently, radiation may have a very useful radioisotopes in agriculture of application food processing and preservation, although much more exploratory work must be done to evaluate its full potentialities.

One radioisotopes in agriculture the most attractive features of this application is the wide scope it offers for the useful employment of the radioactive residues arising as a by-products of the operations of nuclear reactors.

Mutation breeding involves the use induced beneficial changes or mutations for practical plant breeding purpose both directly and indirectly. It is a technique to create a new characteristics, such as drought resistance or higher yield of the crops.

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