Good News for Post-Apocalyptic Gourmets: Truffles Resistant to Radiation

© AFP 2022 / GUILLAUME SOUVANTA picture taken on December 11, 2015 shows a close up of black truffles (Tuber Melanosporum) in Chinon
A picture taken on December 11, 2015 shows a close up of black truffles (Tuber Melanosporum) in Chinon - Sputnik International
A new study has revealed that truffles, which are among the most expensive delicacies in the world, do not accumulate dangerous levels of radioactivity from the soil they grow in, according to the journal Biogeosciences.

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A team of Swiss and German scientists have discovered that truffles, which are usually among the most expensive kinds of gourmet food, do not accumulate radioactivity at a harmful level comparable to other fungal species, the journal Biogeosciences reported, referring to the scientists' study.

The researchers analyzed a total of 82 Burgundy truffles collected in France, Italy, Hungary, Switzerland and Germany across Europe between 2010 and 2014.

The soil in these countries is not entirely healthy in the wake of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, which released massive amounts of radioactive isotopes like Cesium-137 that quickly spread across Europe.

"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," the study said.

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The scientists explained that in all samples, the 137Cs values ranged below the detection limit of 2 becquerels per kilogram, which they said is far below the tolerance value of 600 becquerels per kilogram; it means that the Burgundy truffles are safe to eat.

It remains unclear why these truffles are far less susceptible to radioactivity contamination than other fungi. The researchers suggested that the secret lies in the fact that truffles grow underground and have a unique mechanism for absorbing  nutrients from the soil. In any case, more research is needed to know exactly why the Burgundy truffles are not radioactive, the scientists said.

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