Radioactivity of European Wild Growing Edible Mushrooms pp. 215-230
Authors: (Pavel Kalač, Department of Applied Chemistry, Faculty of Agriculture, University of South Bohemia, České Budějovice, Czech Republic)
Abstract: Wild growing mushrooms are widely consumed as a delicacy in several European countries, at level up to several kg per year per capita. Activity concentrations of the natural isotope 40K are usually 800-1,500 Bq kg-1 dry matter (DM). Other natural radionuclides with leading 210Pb and 210Po are of lower importance. Activities of 137Cs from nuclear weapons testing below 1,000 Bq kg-1 DM were commonly reported until 1986. The situation changed dramatically after the accident of Chernobyl nuclear power station in 1986. Activities up to over 100,000 Bq kg-1 DM of 137Cs and to a lesser extent of 134Cs were observed in some edible species in the following years. Commonly, mycorrhizal species accumulate radiocesium more than species with saprotrophic or parasitic nutritional strategy. Xerocomus badius, X. chrysenteron, Suillus variegatus, Rozites caperata, Laccaria amethystina and Hydnum repandum belong among the radiocesium highly accumulating and widely consumed species. Activity concentrations have been affected by several environmental factors, such as rate of soil contamination by the Chernobyl fallout, the depth from which mycelium takes nutrients and time since the accident. Most of the 137Cs in forest soils appear to be available for uptake by mushrooms until now. A considerable consumption of accumulating species collected from the sites heavily contaminated in 1986 can be still of a health concern. The contamination can be reduced by soaking or cooking of dried or frozen mushroom slices. Until now, meat of wild boars eating some mushroom species from heavily contaminated areas can highly surpass statutory limit for 137Cs.