The arsenic and cadmium contents of 88 samples of mushrooms were determined. The majority of samples have a very low (practically zero) arsenic level; however, significant accumulations were found in the Agaricus species and in Macrolepiota rhacodes (which is related to the Agaricaceae family) and in three Tricholomataceae species (Flammulina velutipes, Lepista nebularis and Clitocybe inversa). The average cadmium content of all samples was 4.91 ppm (0.28-86 ppm) on a dry weight basis. The highest concentration (34.9 ppm) was found to be characteristic of genus Agaricus. The accumulation potential of genus Russula is lower, and it appears that this content is more characteristic in three sections (Ingratea, Heterophyllae and Xerampelinae), whereas the others have a low (normal) cadmium level. These data confirm that the accumulation ability is genetically coded, thus, only certain taxonomical groups of fungi play a toxicological role. Our data offer new information about the concentration of two toxic elements of particular mushroom species as well as in other taxonomic groups. These data are of great importance in view of toxicology, food chemistry and, partly, environmental protection.
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