Wild mushrooms are a popular delicacy in many countries and their consumption is rather high in some individuals. Some species, mainly from the genera Agaricus, Macrolepiota, Lepista and Calocybe accumulate a high content of cadmium and mercury even in unpolluted areas. Levels of these metals increase considerably in heavily polluted sites, such as in the vicinity of both working and abandoned metal smelters or inside cities. Current knowledge of the chemical forms of the metals bound in mushrooms is limited, as are data on their bioavailability in man. Consumption of the species which do accumulate these metals should thus be restricted. A low content of the metals in cultivated mushroom species is characteristic.
heavy metals; cadmium; mercury; edible mushroom
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