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Deer truffles – the dominant source of radiocaesium contamination of wild boar

  • J. Barescut, M. Steiner (a1) and U. Fielitz (a2)

Abstract

In some regions of Germany radiocaesium contamination of wild boar (Sus scrofa) is either staying fairly constant or slightly increasing on average, concurrently exhibiting an extraordinary variability. The reasons for this peculiar contamination pattern were investigated from 2002 to 2004 in an area located in the Bavarian forest. The microscopic analyses of 70 stomachs gave detailed information on the food composition. Potential food items sampled in the investigation area were measured for their radiocaesium level. Deer truffles (Elaphomyces granulatus), a preferred delicacy of wild boar, turned out to play a key role. This fungus showed contamination levels exceeding those of edible mushrooms and other food components by an order of magnitude and more. Despite their low weight proportion of about 6% of the stomach content on average, more than three quarters of the radiocaesium uptake can be ascribed to deer truffles. Their irregular consumption and the dynamics of radiocaesium in forest soil explain the peculiar contamination pattern of wild boar. Predictive modelling of radiocaesium contamination of wild boar should always take into account deer truffles, especially their occurrence, contamination levels and irregular consumption.

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[1] Fielitz U., “Untersuchungen zum Verhalten von Radiocäsium in Wildschweinen und anderen Biomedien des Waldes”, final report of the research project St.Sch. 4324 (Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Bonn, Berlin, 2005, in German).
[2] Hohmann U. and Huckschlag D., Eur. J. Wildl. Res. 51 (2005) 263–270.
[3] Klemt E. and Zibold G., “Datenerhebung zur Radiocäsium-Kontamination im Jahr 2004” (Landesanstalt für Umweltschutz Baden-Württemberg, Karlsruhe, in German).
[4] Putyrskaya V., Klemt E., Paliachenka H. and Zibold G., “137Cs accumulation in Elaphomyces granulatus Fr. and its transfer to wild boar”, Proceedings of the XXXIII Annual Meeting of ESNA/Jointly organised with IUR Working Group Soil-to-Plant Transfer (Working Group 3), Viterbo, Italy, 27–31 August 2003, N. Mitchell, V. Licina and G. Zibold Eds. (Fachhochschule Ravensburg-Weingarten University of Applied Sciences, 2003) pp. 1–5.

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