Hyperaccumulation of elements in mushrooms

Thelephora penicillata

Thelephora mushrooms are important mycorrhizal partners of woody plants. An international team led by Jan Borovička of the Institute of Geology investigated trace element concentrations in their fruit bodies. In Thelephora penicillata, extremely high concentrations of toxic elements were found, especially cadmium (Cd) and arsenic (As). Among other analysed species, surprising results were obtained for T. palmata with elevated contents of sulphur and T. vialis with extremely high concentrations of selenium. The extreme concentrations of Cd, As (but also copper and zinc) in T. penicillata have no parallel in the Fungal Kingdom and raise the question of the importance of element hyperaccumulation in mushrooms. The results were published in the renowned journal Science of the Total Environment.