12 Species of Mushrooms Can Contain Heavy Metals

CIUDAD REAL, Spain, Nov. 2 (UPI) — The amount of heavy metals in 12 species of mushrooms varies depending on the type of mushroom, researchers in Spain found.

Researchers at the University of Castilla-La Mancha analyzed the presence of heavy metals in 12 species of mushroom collected from non-contaminated natural areas. The study, published in the journal Biometals, found the largest quantities of lead and neodymium are found in chanterelles.

“The aim was to find out if there is a connection between the concentrations of specific heavy metals detected in the mushrooms, based on three factors: the type of substrate, the study area and the species of mushroom,” principal author Juan Antonio Campos said in a statement. “The third was the determining factor.”

The researchers analyzed the presence of lead, neodymium, thorium and uranium in a hundred samples of 12 different species of common mushroom, both edible and non-edible, collected from non-contaminated zones in the Ciudad Real province.

The highest levels of neodymium — 7.1 micrograms/gram — and lead — 4.86 µg/g — were found in the chanterelle, a mushroom widely used in European cuisine. It grows in the shadow of Holm oaks, Cork oaks and oaks, and is ectomycorrhizal — it clings to the external roots of plants to exchange nutrients — so it has direct contact with the mineral particles of the soil.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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