Radiocaesium in Tricholoma spp. from the Northern Hemisphere in 1971–2016

Jerzy Falandysz, Michał Saniewski, Alwyn Fernandes, Daniella Meloni, Luigi Cocchi, Dagmara Strumińska-Parulska, Tamara Zalewska

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A considerable amount of data has been published on the accumulation of radiocaesium ( 134Cs and particularly, 137Cs) in wild fungi since the first anthropogenically influenced releases into the environment due to nuclear weapon testing, usage and subsequently from major accidents at nuclear power plants in Chernobyl (1986) and Fukushima (2011). Wild fungi are particularly susceptible to accumulation of radiocaesium and contamination persists for decades after pollution events. Macromycetes (fruiting bodies, popularly called mushrooms) of the edible fungal species are an important part of the human and forest animal food-webs in many global locations. This review discusses published occurrences of 134Cs and 137Cs in twenty four species of Tricholoma mushrooms sourced from the Northern Hemisphere over the last five decades, but also includes some recent data from Italy and Poland. Tricholoma are an ectomycorrhizal species and the interval for contamination to permeate to lower soils layers which host their mycelial networks, results in a delayed manifestation of radioactivity. Available data from Poland, over similar periods, may suggest species selective differences in accumulation, with some fruiting bodies, e.g. T. portentosum, showing lower activity levels relative to others, e.g. T. equestre. Species like T. album, T. sulphurescens and T. terreum also show higher accumulation of radiocaesium, but reported observations are few. The uneven spatial distribution of the data combined with a limited number of observations make it difficult to decipher any temporal contamination patterns from the observations in Polish regions. When data from other European sites is included, a similar variability of 137Cs activity is apparent but the more recent Ukrainian data appears to show relatively lower activities. 40K activity in mushrooms which is associated with essential potassium, remains relatively constant. Further monitoring of 137Cs activity in wild mushrooms would help to consolidate these observations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149829
Number of pages13
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date22 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • Chernobyl
  • Food toxicology
  • Foraged food
  • Fungi
  • K
  • Mushrooms
  • Nuclear accidents

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