Radioactivity in edible mushrooms

Martin E Phillips Martin at
Wed Mar 12 14:08:04 EST 1997

In article <19970311020400.VAA27290 at>, Giorg78745
<giorg78745 at> writes
>I just came acrosss a  piece of information.
>A family in the French area of Vosges that ate large quantities of edible
>mushrooms was found to have  ingested large quantities of radioactive
>According to the article that radioactive cesium might have come from the
>Chernobyl fallout, or being derived from the past nuclear explosions in
>the atmosphere.

There is a fairly large body of literature on the uptake of radiocaesium
by biota including fungi. I haven't any references to hand, but some
fungi are known to concentrate caesium by factors of several orders of
magnitude. AFAIK, not too many of these are common edible species. There
has been quite a lot of work done in Scandinavia post-Chernobyl to
investigate the use of fungi as bioindicators of radiocaesium
contamination - by concentrating the activity, measurement becomes much
quicker using crude instrumentation.

I'll try to find some references next time I'm in the office. There was
a conference at IAEA Vienna last October on bioindicators for use in
radioactive contamination and remediation - might be worth doing a
search for the proceedings.


Martin Phillips | Stroud Morris | G4CIO | I drink therefore I am.
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