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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Copper, zinc, and cadmium in various fractions of soil and fungi in a Swedish forest

Vinichuk, Mykhailo


Ectomycorrhizal fungi profoundly affect forest ecosystems through mediating nutrient uptake and maintaining forest food webs. The accumulation of metals in each transfer step from bulk soil to fungal sporocarps is not well known. The accumulation of three metals copper (Cu), zinc (Zn) and cadmium (Cd) in bulk soil, rhizosphere, soil-root interface, fungal mycelium and sporocarps of mycorrhizal fungi in a Swedish forest were compared. Concentrations of all three metals increased in the order: bulk soil < soil-root interface (or rhizosphere) < fungal mycelium < fungal sporocarps. The uptake of Cu, Zn and Cd during the entire transfer process in natural conditions between soil and sporocarps occurred against a concentration gradient. In fungal mycelium, the concentration of all three metals was about three times higher than in bulk soil, and the concentration in sporocarps was about two times higher than in mycelium. In terms of accumulation, fungi (mycelium and sporocarps) preferred Cd to Zn and Cu. Zinc concentration in sporocarps and to a lesser extent in mycelium depended on the concentration in soil, whereas, the uptake of Cu and Cd by both sporocarps and mycelium did not correlate with metal concentration in soil. Heavy metal accumulation within the fungal mycelium biomass in the top forest soil layer (0-5 cm) might account for ca. 5-9% of the total amount of Cu, 5-11% of Zn, and 16-32% of Cd. As the uptake of zinc and copper by fungi may be balanced, this implied similarities in the uptake mechanism.


Ectomycorrhizal fungi; fungal mycelium; forest soil; rhizosphere

Published in

Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part A
2013, volume: 48, number: 8, pages: 980-987

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Soil and Environment
Zhytomyr State Technological University

UKÄ Subject classification

Environmental Sciences
Soil Science

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)