Analytical Sciences

Abstract − Analytical Sciences, 21(7), 747 (2005).

Study of Heavy Metals in Wild Edible Mushrooms under Different Pollution Conditions by X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry
*Departamento de Física, Centro de Física Atómica, da Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Prof. Gama Pinto, 2, 1649-003, Lisboa, Portugal
**Faculdade de Ciências da Nutrição e Alimentação da Universidade do Porto, Portugal
In this work we studied and compared the metal uptake in edible mushrooms (Lepiota procera, Boletus badius, Boletus edulis, Tricholoma equestry, Lactarius deliciosus, Cantarelus tubalformis and Cantarelus edulis), relative to sampling sites submitted to different pollution conditions: car traffic, soil pollution due to pesticides and fertilizers used in old vineyards, and incineration of hospital waste. Soil was also collected in some places, and its content was correlated to the corresponding one in some mushrooms species. All samples, without any chemical treatment, were analyzed by an X-ray fluorescence set-up. This technique is based on a monochromatic X-ray beam ionizing the atoms of the sample. Following this ionization, the emitted radiation is characteristic of the element, allowing its identification and quantification. Vineyards are normally submitted to very high amounts of sulfating, containing high copper concentrations. This metal is accumulated on the soil, and can be up-taken by vegetation. Very high levels of Fe and Cu were found in Lepiota procera species in old vineyards. Zinc was found to be always higher than Cu by factors ranging from 1.5 to 8 in clean wood taken as a reference for the whole analyzed species, while in old vineyards the ratio Zn/Cu reach 0.25 for Lepiota procera. This is correlated to the soil content for both elements. In addition, pollution induced by car traffic was checked in some samples, collected in the proximity of highways. Pb was the main contaminant in these areas, and presenting values 10 times higher than the corresponding ones in sites not submitted to pollution, for some species. Mushrooms contamination due to incineration of hospital waste was also studied, but we did not observe any contamination involving heavy metals in the several analyzed species around these areas. This is in agreement with what was expected, taking into account that hospital waste is mostly organic and, in principle, no heavy metals would be observed.