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Not. Bot. Hort. Agrobot. Cluj 38 (2) 2010, Special Issue, 147-151
Print ISSN 0255-965X; Electronic 1842-4309
Notulae Botanicae Horti Agrobotanici
The mushrooms are consumed because of their chemi-
cal and nutritional properties, as for their therapeutic
and preventing disease characteristics due to the chemi-
cal composition (Agrahar-Murugkar and Subbuakshmi,
2005; Manzi et al., 2001). There is a well-established con-
sumer acceptance of cultivated mushroom, such as Agari-
cus bisporus, Pleurotus spp., Lentinus edodes and other, but
some specific groups of people, seasonally, are traditionally
eating wild mushrooms (Diez and Alvarez, 2001).
Accurate food composition data are estimating the
adequacy of essential nutrients intakes and assessing expo-
sure risk from intake of toxic non-essential metals (Onian-
wa et al., 2001; Soylak et al., 2005). Trace elements above
threshold concentration level, can cause morphological
abnormalities and reduce growth and increase mortality
and mutagenic effects in human bodies (Olumuyiwa et al.,
2007). The bioavailability of iron in mushrooms is there-
fore high and human body can absorb up to 90% of the
present iron (Kalač and Svoboda, 2000).
Because of these, it is necessary to investigate the level
of metals concentration in the wild growing mushrooms.
They are known to accumulate high levels of several heavy
metals like copper, mercury, lead, zinc and cadmium
(Kalač and Svoboda, 2000).
Numerous data on metals concentrations in the fungal
fruiting bodies were published (Alonso et al., 2003; Coc-
chi et al., 2006; Garcia et al., 1998; Isildak et al., 2004;
Soylak et al., 2005; Svoboda et al., 2006). Because the
macro fungi are integral part of the forest ecosystems,
sometimes the soil-to-mycelium transfer of metals de-
pends on relationship between mycelium and symbiotic
plants species affecting element absorption and transloca-
tion (Malinowska et al., 2004). In addition, the metals are
distributed unevenly within the fruiting body, the highest
concentrations have been observed in the spore-forming
part, but not in the spore, a lower content in the rest of the
cap and the lowest level in the stipe (Thomet et al., 1999).
High level of metals concentration was observed near met-
als polluted area and metals smelter (Collin- Hansen and
Andersen, 2003; Kalač et al., 1996; Svoboda et al., 2000).
The purpose of this paper is to identify the level of
toxic elements like copper, zinc and tin which are concen-
trated in the fruiting body of some mushrooms collected
from a forest area of Carpathian Mountain, Bucegi Massif.
A comparison between the level of heavy metals in the ed-
ible mushrooms and the toxic mushrooms will be done to
underline the possible danger of the wild growing mush-
The Bioaccumulation of Some Heavy Metals in the Fruiting Body of
Wild Growing Mushrooms
Carmen Cristina ELEKES1) , Gabriela BUSUIOC1) , Gheorghe IONITA2)
1) Valahia University of Targoviste, Faculty of Environmental Engineering and Biotechnologies,
Bd. Regele Carol I, no. 2, Romania; email@example.com
2)Valahia University of Targoviste, Faculty of Materials Engineering, Mechatronics and Robotics, Bd. Regele Carol I, no. 2, Romania
Due to their effective mechanism of accumulation of heavy metals from soil, the macrofungi show high concentrations of metals
in their fruiting body. According with this ability, the mushrooms can be used to evaluate and control the level of environmental
pollution, but also represent danger for human ingestion. We analyzed some macrofungi species from a wooded area to establish the
heavy metal concentrations and ability of bioaccumulation and translocation for Zn, Cu and Sn in fruiting body. The metallic content
was established by the Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectrometry method (ICP-AES). The minimal detection limits
of method is 0.4 mg/kg for Zn and Cu and 0.6 mg/kg for Sn. Heavy metals concentrations in the fruiting body ranged between 6.98-
20.10 mg/kg for Zn (the higher value was for Tapinella atrotomentosa); 16.13-144.94 mg/kg for Cu (the higher value was for Hypholoma
fasciculare); and 24.36-150.85 mg/kg for Sn (the higher value was for Paxillus involutus). The bioaccumulation factor has important
values (higher than 1) only for copper in all the analyzed species (between 1.30 and 8.86) and for tin in Paxillus involutus species (1.19).
The translocation factor shows that zinc and tin were accumulated in higher concentrations in cap of mushrooms and the copper had
higher concentrations in stipe.
Keywords: macromycetes, bioaccumulation, translocation factor, zinc, copper, tin
Elekes, C. C. et al. / Not. Bot. Hort. Agrobot. Cluj 38 (2) 2010, 147-151
Materials and methodsResults and discussion
The metal concentrations in the fruiting body of mush-
rooms vary over a wide range within the species, because
of many factors affecting the absorption and accumulation
rate. The soil properties, such as pH, redox potential, or-
ganic matter content, clay mineralogy, caution exchange
capacity of the soil phase, competition with other metal
ions and composition of the soil solution influence the ab-
sorption of metals in mushrooms (Angeles Garcia et al.,
Some of the soil characteristics from the sites where the
mushrooms were harvested are present in Tab. 1. The hu-
midity of the analyzed sites has the mean value of 47.53%
because of the high ratio of leaf litter in the analyzed sub-
stratum, and the soil pH reaction is 6.70 due to the high
content of the biological material. The mean amount of
trace metals in the soil was for Zn higher than the nor-
mal value for an organic soil (57-100 mg/kg), and did not
reached this limit for Cu (1-115 mg/kg) (Kabata-Pendias
and Pendias, 1993).
Metal concentrations in mushrooms
In the culinary domain, the mushrooms are very appre-
ciated because of their concentration in minerals. Besides
water (75-95% fresh weight), they has an important con-
tent of carbohydrates (39% dry weight), proteins (17.5%
dry weight) and a low content of lipids (2.9% dry weight)
(Latiff et al., 1996). The amount of dry matter of mush-
rooms is species dependent, but also depends on the age
and meteorological condition. A mean percentage of dry
weights for each species of analyzed mushrooms are: Bo-
letus griseus - 26.25%, Collybia butyracea - 33.59%, Tap-
inella atrotomentosus - 9.07%, Paxillus involutus - 18.01%,
Hypholoma fasciculare - 18.23% and Tricholoma flavovi-
rens - 16.17%.
Zinc is one of the important trace metals for a normal
growth and development of humans and mushrooms are
known as well accumulators for this element. Zinc content
in the analyzed mushrooms from Bucegi Massif varies in
the fruiting body of each species. The results obtained for
the zinc concentration (Fig. 1) are in accordance with the
Six species of wild growing mushrooms were harvest
from a wooded area, near Sinaia city, from Bucegi Mas-
sif of Carpathian Mountains. All these macro fungus were
found in deciduous forest, at 800 m altitude, relatively
close to the road Targovisite-Sinaia. They growth in a cold
period, in November, on the soil, but the mycelium was
founded also in the mixture of litter wood and leaves. The
analyzed species are edible (Collybia butyracea and Boletus
griseus), non-edible (Tapinella atrotomentosus and Paxil-
lus involutus) or toxic (Hypholoma fasciculare and Tricho-
loma flavovirens). The harvested mushrooms were mature,
with sporophore, and were collected the whole fruiting
bodies, caps and stipes.
For each mushroom, we sample 6-9 exemplars from dif-
ferent places and the substratum near the mycelium, down
to the depth of 5 cm. Both the samples of mushrooms and
soil, and them processing were did with plastic, glass and
pottery instruments to avoid any metal contacts that can
influence the results.
After harvesting, the mushrooms were clean up by the
soil particles, dried at 60ºC and then grinding to fine pow-
der. The soil root surrounding samples were dried at 40ºC
until the complete process, then grinding to a fine powder
and sieved at 250 µm (conform SR ISO 11464).
The Inductively Coupled Plasma - Atomic Emission
Spectrometry method (ICP-AES), did the estimation of
metallic content in the analyzed mushroom and them
soil. For the analyzes with ICP-AES method, the biologi-
cal samples (mushrooms) were mineralized, in Berghof
microwave digestor, by mixture with 10 ml of nitric acid
concentrated 65% and 2 ml of hydrogen peroxide, and for
the soil samples were done hot extractions with nitric acid
In present paper, the metals contents of mushrooms
were establish with a 110 Liberty Spectrometer type of
Varian brand. To disintegrate the sample in constituents
atoms or ions is used a plasma source, which will stir up
them on superior energetic layer. They will revert to the
initial form by the emission of characteristic energy pho-
ton, emission recorded by an optical spectrometer. The
radiation intensity is proportional with each element con-
centration in the sample and is intern calculated by a cou-
ple of calibration curves to obtain directly the measured
The concentrations represent the mean of many exem-
plars and are expressed in mg of metal related with kg of
dry soil or plants. The minimal detection limits of the de-
vice ranged according the analyzed element and was 0.4
mg/kg for Cu and Zn; 0.6 mg/kg for Sn.
Tab. 1. Humidity (%), pH and heavy metals contents (mg/kg)
in the studied sampling points of soil from the Bucegi Massif,
Elekes, C. C. et al. / Not. Bot. Hort. Agrobot. Cluj 38 (2) 2010, 147-151
concentrations from literature, which have been reported
in the range of 28.6-179.0 mg/kg (Rudawska and Leski,
2005), 43.5-205.0 mg/kg (Sesli et al., 2008) or 45-188
mg/kg (Tuzen, 2003). The zinc concentration is higher in
the cap of the fruiting body than in stipe for all the ana-
lyzed species of mushrooms. For B. griseus and T. flavo-
virens, the zinc concentration in the stipe was under the
detection limit of method.
The highest concentration of zinc was founded in non-
edible and toxic species of mushrooms, T. atrotomentosa
(30.05 mg/kg) and T. flavovirens (31.85 mg/kg), and the
lowest concentrations of this element were founded in the
edible species, B. griseus and C. butyracea.
Copper concentrations in the accumulating mush-
rooms species are usually 100-300 mg/kg of dry matter,
which is not considered a risk for human health (Kalač and
Svoboda, 2000) and a concentration higher than those in
vegetable should be considered as a nutritional source of
this element (Sesli et al., 2008). For wild growing mush-
rooms, the copper content range between ‘not detectable’
and 169.80 mg/kg, in agreement with the literature val-
ues 15.5-73.8 mg/kg (Sesli et al., 2008), 12-181 mg/kg
(Tuzen, 2003) or 13.4-50.6 mg/kg (Soylak et al., 2005).
In fig. 1 we can see the differences of copper accumulation
in the fruiting body of mushrooms, according with them
edibility. The lower copper concentrations were founded
in the edible mushrooms, and the highest concentrations
in the toxic species of analyzed mushrooms. In addition,
the copper is accumulated in higher quantities in the stipe
of the fruiting body, for all the analyzed species of mush-
The concentration of tin in the wild growing species
of mushrooms ranged between 48.73 mg/kg for B. griseus
and 301.70 mg/kg for P. involutus, the lowest concentra-
tions are also in the edible species of mushrooms. This ele-
ment is accumulated in the cap of the fruiting body; and
the concentrations in the stipe of analyzed mushrooms
were under the detection limit of method.
The bioaccumulation factor
The bioaccumulation factor represents the pollutant
concentration in mushrooms comparing with the environ-
ment concentration (in soil) (Scragg, 2005). The bioac-
Tab. 2. The bioaccumulation factor of edible and non-edible wild growing species of mushrooms
Edible species Non-edible species
Fig. 1. The metal concentrations in the fruiting body of some wild growing mushrooms
Elekes, C. C. et al. / Not. Bot. Hort. Agrobot. Cluj 38 (2) 2010, 147-151
The zinc and copper contents of the soil from the
wooded area of Bucegi Massif are comparable, even higher
than the maximum values of metals concentration in this
category of soil. The toxic analyzed species grew on the soil
with higher content of heavy metals than the edible spe-
The lowest content of heavy metals was founded in
edible species of mushrooms, and the highest in the toxic
species. The concentrations of these elements increased
with the increasing of the toxicity of analyzed species of
The bioaccumulation factor is comparable for the ana-
lyzed species of mushrooms concerning the three heavy
metals, which means that the concentrations in mush-
rooms edible, non-edible or toxic, increase with the in-
crease of metal content in the soil.
This work was supported by CNCSIS - UEFISCSU,
project number PNII - IDEI 624/2008
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species of mushrooms, with statistically significant differ-
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a p < 0.001; b p < 0.005; c p < 0.01; d p < 0.05
Tab. 3. The correlation between the metal contents in soil
and pH with the metal concentration in the fruiting body
a p < 0.001; b p < 0.005; c p < 0.01; d p < 0.05; *the concentration in mushrooms
is under the detection limit of method
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