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Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 1999 Apr;36(3):256-63.

Metal content profiles in mushrooms collected in primary forests of Latin America.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Chimie des Substances Naturelles, Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Interactions Fongiques et Microbiennes, URA 401 du CNRS, 63, rue Buffon, F-75005 Paris, France.


Ecotoxicology and environmental safety concerns suggested estimation of the content of 14 metals-some of them highly toxic, such as cadmium, mercury, and lead-in 26 mushrooms species (Basidiomycetes and Ascomycetes). The fungi-members of different genera-were collected during two periods, 1967-1969 and 1978-1981, in primary forests of Latin America (mainly French Guyana and a few samples from Colombia and Costa Rica), these areas are non- or slightly inhabited, therefore, industrial pollution has to be considered as totally nonexistent. Heavy metals, selectively concentrated in specific living organisms, should be regarded as toxin-like substances, taking into account the bioaccumulation sites (mushrooms) and the noxious activity toward various organs of mammals (i.e., central nervous system, kidneys, liver, etc.). The levels and distribution of the metals in the samples are given and compared. Most surprisingly, contents are not especially contrasted with those found in mushrooms collected in European urban areas, such as the Paris region; cadmium, lead, and mercury levels are of the same order of magnitude.

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