An evaluation of the occurrence and trends in 137Cs and 40K radioactivity in King Bolete Boletus edulis mushrooms in Poland during 1995–2019

Jerzy Falandysz, Tamara Zalewska, Michał Saniewski, Alwyn R. Fernandes

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B. edulis, collected from 33 forested or woodland sites across Poland over 25 years since 1995, were analysed for radiocaesium. The results ( 137Cs activity range: 25 to 10,000 Bq kg -1 dry weight) provide a good indication of artificial radioactivity in this food material. The relatively higher levels detected in the earlier years, mostly in easterly location, is consistent with depositions from the projected Chernobyl incident (1986) fallout plumes. Nevertheless, the 137Cs concentrations during 1995–2010 were, on average, higher than those reported by other studies for Polish B. edulis over the period 1986–1994. The data concurs with the general hypothesis and observations that deposited 137Cs permeates slowly over time to deeper soil horizons which host the mycelial networks. This delay in availability shows that (apart from hotspots) higher contamination of fruiting bodies occurred around 10 to 20 years after the incident. Local consumers and recreational mushroomers were undoubtedly exposed, although reported 137Cs concentrations suggest that serious breaches of regulated levels were uncommon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32405–32415
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number25
Early online date24 Feb 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Chernobyl fallout
  • Edible wild mushrooms
  • Human exposure
  • Organic food
  • Radiocaesium

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