Metal contents in honey and mushrooms from serpentinite soils in the Morais site Conference Paper uri icon


  • The Morais Natura 2000 Site (PTCON0023), located in the northeast of Portugal, is an area of very high geological and botanical interest. This site has in its core the Morais Ophiolite Complex that is one of the most representative areas of ultramafic rocks, and the largest continuous unit of serpentine soils in Portugal. These soils have particular chemical characteristics, such as high levels of some heavy metals, namely nickel (Ni), chromium (Cr), manganese (Mn) and magnesium (Mg), being deficient in some macronutrients. In the Morais site several non-wood forest products (NWFP) are collected by the local community. These products contribute to the sustainable management of the forest system, to the conservation of their biodiversity, and to increase income and improve food security. However, as the soils of the Morais site may have high contents in heavy metals, it is of great importance to analyze their contents in food products grown or produced in this area. In the present work we analyzed Ca, Mg, Mn, Cr and Ni contents in three honeys from the Morais site (additionally to three commercial honeys – control), and nineteen mushroom species collected in four different locations. The honeys of the Morais site showed higher levels of Ni in relation to the control samples. For the other metals, no differences were detected. Even though Morais honeys showed higher Ni levels than the control ones, these are below critical levels in terms of human health. Regarding mushrooms, Trametes sp. (non-edible) showed consistently higher metals concentrations. In relation to edible species, Suillus sp. was the one that had the highest levels of Ca, Mn, Cr and Ni. On the other hand, Agaricus campestris showed the highest Mg concentration. Nevertheless, the metal levels found in mushrooms collected on the Morais site were identical to those reported for other sites.

publication date

  • January 1, 2013