Truffles aren’t laced with radioactive cesium

truffles in a basket

Radioactive fallout from the Chernobyl disaster hasn’t dangerously contaminated Burgundy truffles, research finds.

Poppy/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Good news, foodies: Truffles are not dangerously radioactive.

After analyzing 82 specimens of Burgundy truffle (Tuber aestivum) from across Europe, researchers report online November 10 in Biogeosciences Discussions that all of the sought-after delicacies contained insignificant concentrations of radioactive cesium-137.

Some fungi species, including certain mushrooms, sop up radioactive elements from dirt. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster contaminated large swaths of European soils with cesium-137 and prompted concerns that truffles could become radioactive.

The work provides an all clear for Burgundy truffle hunters and connoisseurs around the world, the researchers write. While not radioactive, at more than $400 per kilogram, Burgundy truffles still may not be safe for the pocketbook.

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