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Abstract Title: Characterization of the Bioaccumulation of Mercury in Fruiting Bodies of Wild Mushrooms in Southwest Germany
Presenter Name: Barna Heidel
Company/Institution: Esslingen University of Applied Sciences
Session: Mercury in the Terrestrial Ecosystems
Co-Authors: Barna Heidel,Christina Schmid,Siyavuya Madlanga

Abstract Information :

Mercury (Hg) is a ubiquitous and persistent toxic heavy metal which adversely affects health and the environment on a worldwide scale. Despite intense research and educational efforts regarding the chemical analysis and monitoring of Hg concentrations in the biosphere as well as in consumer items; our understanding and awareness of the overall levels and dynamics of environmental Hg still falls short of what is desired. Hence, the Esslingen University of Applied Sciences addresses this issue in the context of research projects and as an integral part of the curriculum. The fungal taxonomy is notoriously known for its elevated heavy metal accumulation. In this paper, 58 different species, comprising of 115 mushroom fruiting bodies, were examined for mercury using the RA-915M atomic absorption spectroscope with an integrated pyrolysis unit. The average Hg concentration in the fruiting bodies varied between 0.02 æg/g and 4.72 æg/g DM. The mushroom cap average mercury concentration was observed to be twice that of the corresponding stalk ? possibly explained by the high accumulation in the fertile spore-forming zone localized in the cap. This finding was corroborated by more detailed analyses of a fly agaric 'Amanita muscaria' and several 'Lycoperdon perlatum' puffball fruiting bodies. The influence of the two site parameters: Hg-concentration and soil-pH mercury accumulation in fruiting bodies was not evaluated due to the strong heterogeneity in the sample. In addition to the Hg concentration quantification, an attempt was made to qualitatively determine the different existent mercury species. This was conducted on five samples, using a method with a significantly slowed temperature increase, in the pyrolysis unit. The resultant curves, showing the temperature-dependent release of Hg from the mushroom samples, indicate the presence of various forms of Hg in the mushrooms? fruiting bodies ? the exact determination of which, is subject to future investigation.

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