Fruiting bodies: Full metal mushroom

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  • Published: Apr 15, 2016
  • Author: David Bradley
  • Channels: Atomic
thumbnail image: Fruiting bodies: Full metal mushroom

Edible fungi

Bay bolete (Imleria badia) photo by Leon Krancher

It is assumed that edible mushrooms are "full of natural goodness", but a new inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES) and cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-AAS) study reveals that while at least one species may be rich in essential trace metals it can also contain toxic elements such as mercury.

Writing in the journal Food Chemistry, Anna Kojta and Jerzy Falandysz of the Laboratory of Environmental Chemistry & Ecotoxicology at the University of Gdansk, in Poland, explain how they collected the edible fruiting body part of the popular bay bolete mushroom, also known as Imleria badia, or Boletus badius), from several sites across the country including forest area near the towns and villages of Kętrzyn, Poniatowa, Bydgoszcz, Pelplin, Włocławek, Żuromin, Chełmno, Ełk and Wilków communities, as well as in the Augustów Primeval Forest. The fruiting body of a mushroom is the cap and stipe (the stem) that is commonly harvested and eaten raw, cooked or preserved.

Metal mushroom

The team used ICP-OES to analyse the sample for metallic elements including calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, manganese, sodium and zinc and also determined mercury content using cold vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-AAS). They analysed their data using statistical analysis (Kruskal–Wallis test, cluster analysis, principal component analysis). "This made it possible to assess the nutritional value of the mushroom, as well as possible toxicological risks associated with its consumption," the team reports. The bay bolete, which belongs to the ectomycorrhizal species, is commonly found in coniferous forests and only rarely in mixed forests.

Collection of "wild" mushrooms for personal consumption or for sale is common in Poland, the team says. Moreover, there is a large export market for the likes of the bay bolete and others species including the common chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius), the king bolete (Boletus edulis), orange birch bolete (Leccinum versipelle), brown birch scaber stalk (L. scabrum), red cracking bolete (Xerocomus chryzenteron) and yellow cracking bolete (X. subtomentosus), amounting to approximately 3400 tonnes each year.

Mycophile safety

The team's non-parametric tests on 126 samples showed that there is a significant difference in the content of all the metal elements analysed in caps as well as in the stipes of the mushrooms. The greatest variation was in the concentrations of magnesium, potassium, zinc, the team reports. They add that while there are no European Union recognised safety thresholds on mercury in edible mushrooms, the levels they found did not represent a risk to health of foodie mycophiles.

Related Links

Food Chem 2016, 200, 206-214: "Metallic elements (Ca, Hg, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Zn) in the fruiting bodies of Boletus badius"

Article by David Bradley

The views represented in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

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