All-clear for gourmets: truffles not radioactive
Abstract. Although ranging among the most expensive gourmet foods, it remains unclear whether Burgundy truffles (Tuber aestivum) accumulate radioactivity at a harmful level comparable to other fungal species. Here, we measure the 137Cs in 82 T. aestivum fruit bodies from Switzerland, Germany, France, Italy, and Hungary. All tested specimens reveal insignificant radiocaesium concentrations, thus providing an all-clear for many truffle hunters and cultivators in large parts of Europe as well as the subsequent chain of dealers and customers from around the world. Our results are particularly relevant in the light of ongoing efforts to cultivate Burgundy truffles, as well as the fact that several forest ecosystems are still highly contaminated with 137Cs, for which mushrooms are one of the main pathways to human diets.