Harmful and Beneficial Elements in Edible and Toxic Mushrooms from the Forest

Jenn Hoskins
11th June, 2024

Harmful and Beneficial Elements in Edible and Toxic Mushrooms from the Forest

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study analyzed 19 elements in wild-growing edible fungi from the Bohemian Forest in the Czech Republic
  • Different mushroom species showed significant variations in element accumulation, including both essential and toxic elements
  • Occasional consumption of these mushrooms poses no significant health risk despite the presence of toxic elements like cadmium and arsenic
The University of South Bohemia recently conducted a study on selected wild-growing edible fungi from the Bohemian Forest in the Czech Republic, analyzing the contents of 19 elements in their fruiting bodies[1]. This research aimed to understand the accumulation of various elements in mushrooms and assess their potential health risks and benefits to consumers. The study focused on species such as Boletus edulis, Neoboletus luridiformis, Cantharellus cibarius, Macrolepiota procera, Amanita rubescens, Russula virescens, Lycoperdon perlatum, and Flammulina velutipes, along with the poisonous medicinal species Amanita muscaria. Mushrooms are known for their ability to accumulate both essential and toxic elements from their growing environment. The diversity in element accumulation among different mushroom species makes understanding their nutritional and health implications complex. This study builds on previous research that has documented the accumulation of macro and trace elements in mushrooms[2][3]. It also expands on findings related to the accumulation of silver in macrofungi[4]. The University of South Bohemia's study revealed significant species-dependent differences in the accumulation of elements such as cadmium (Cd), rubidium (Rb), silver (Ag), copper (Cu), selenium (Se), and zinc (Zn). For example, Boletus edulis showed high bioconcentration factors (BCF) for Ag (31), Se (25), Cd (18), Rb (13), Cu (3.9), and Zn (2.6). Similarly, Amanita rubescens accumulated Cd (41), Rb (27), Ag (4.8), Cu (3.3), Zn (2.1), and arsenic (As) (1.4). These findings are consistent with earlier studies that reported mushrooms as effective accumulators of elements like Cd, Cu, Hg, and Zn[3]. The study's results indicated that the mushrooms' element contents and BCF values varied significantly among species. This variability underscores the importance of species-specific analysis when assessing the nutritional and toxicological impacts of mushroom consumption. For instance, Boletus edulis and Amanita rubescens were identified as effective accumulators of multiple elements, including potentially toxic ones like Cd and As. However, the data suggested that occasional consumption of these mushrooms poses no significant health risk, aligning with previous findings that occasional consumption of certain mushrooms is safe[3]. One of the key contributions of this study is its comprehensive analysis of a wide range of elements in various mushroom species, providing a broader understanding of their accumulation patterns. This approach helps to identify not only the beneficial elements but also the potentially hazardous ones that may co-occur in the same species. For example, while Se is an essential nutrient, Cd and As are toxic elements that can pose health risks if consumed in large quantities. The study also highlights the importance of considering the growing environment when assessing the safety and nutritional value of wild mushrooms. The accumulation of elements like Ag in mushrooms from polluted areas has been documented previously[4], and this study's findings reinforce the need for monitoring environmental contamination and its impact on mushroom safety. In conclusion, the University of South Bohemia's study provides valuable insights into the element accumulation in wild-growing edible fungi and their potential health implications. By comparing the findings with previous studies, it underscores the importance of species-specific analysis and environmental monitoring to ensure the safe consumption of wild mushrooms. This research contributes to a better understanding of the nutritional and toxicological profiles of mushrooms, helping consumers make informed choices about their dietary intake.



Main Study

1) Selected detrimental and essential elements in fruiting bodies of culinary and toxic medicinal macroscopic fungi growing in the Bohemian Forest, the Czech Republic.

Published 10th June, 2024


Related Studies

2) Macro and trace mineral constituents and radionuclides in mushrooms: health benefits and risks.


3) Accumulation of elements by edible mushroom species: part I. Problem of trace element toxicity in mushrooms.


4) Bioaccumulation of silver in ectomycorrhizal and saprobic macrofungi from pristine and polluted areas.


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