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Swedish radiation detection station

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1357677.  Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:54 am Reply with quote

Dotted up and down Sweden's east coast are radiation detectors and form part of the Swedish radioactive fallout monitoring program. These detectors daily pass 24000 cubic metres of air through glass fibre filters which are then collected 8 times a month and analysed for radioactive particles. These filters have been collected monthly since the late 50's. When an abnormal amount of radioactivity is detected from a filter prevailing wind patterns are analysed to determine the possible source of the radioactivity.
The program is credited with detecting fallout from the Chernobyl disaster this way.
What is interesting is the a lot of biological material, and thus DNA, is trapped in these filters, too. Researchers at Umea University took samples of these filters, extracted the DNA, sequenced trillions of bases and looked at the sequence generated. They were able to track trends in plant, fungal, bacterial and animal trends over time, tracking relative species abundance. They were even able to sequence the moose genome several times over in this way.

Karlsson, E., Johansson, A-M., Ahlinder, J., Lundkvist, M J., Singh, N J. et al. (2020) Airborne microbial biodiversity and seasonality in Northern and Southern Sweden PeerJ, 8: e8424


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