E nvironmental                         Studies





Properties of radiocesium

Radiocesium in the environm.

Abstract of research results

Cs-137 in forest soils

Cs-137 in plants

Cs-137 in mushrooms

Cs-137 in deer truffle

Cs-137 in wildlife

Sr-90 in envirm. samples

Pb-210 and Ra-226

Power plants




Wildlife projects


Precision Farming










































                     Cs-137 in Elaphomyces granulatus (Deer Truffle)

The Deer Truffle, takes its name from the Greek, Elapho- (deer) and -Myces (fungus). It is probably the most abundant and widespread of all false truffles in Germany, fruiting nearly the whole year.

Deer truffles are composed of a relatively hard rubbery rind and are filled with spores when ripe (figure 1).  The rind usually has a warty surface and is light brown.  Color and consistency of the spores vary with the degree of ripeness of the truffles. At first the mass inside is solid and light grey in color. As it ripens it gets darker and darker. The truffle is fully ripe when the inside is of  a loose powdery substance and violet colored.

Fig. 1: Deer truffle (Elaphomyces granulatus) on moss.   The truffle has a fine warty to granulus, light colored surface, 2-4 mm thick. At the ripe stage it contains a powdery black   mass of spores (Fig. 8).  The fruiting bodies are round, light brown to rust colored, 1 to 5 cm in size and with a mass of 18g








I n some parts of Germany wild boar are still as highly contaminated with Cs-137 in 2003 as right after the Tschernobyl incident (see Cs-137 in Wildlife).


Elaphomyces granulatus, deer truffel, are eaten readily by wild boar and contain the highest amounts of Cs-137 in comparison to the other food stuffs eaten by these animals.  Hence these truffles are suspected of being a primary cause for the high contamination of the boar. In picture 2 deer truffels in the soil of a spruce forest, its typical macrohabitat is presented.


Fig. 2:  Exposed deer truffel (Elaphomyces granulatus) in 8 cm soil depth. Sample plot B1

The average depth at which the 82 collected specimens were found was 5 cm, whereby the truffles can be anywhere between 1 cm and 16 cm deep in the soil – in the humus layer as well as in the mineral soil










The distribution of Cs-137 activity in the fruiting body of a truffle was determined with a phosphorus imager (Fa. Raytest).  The distribution of activity is converted into a color intensive picture.  For this purpose a 2 mm thick slice was cut from the middle of a truffle and exposed to a phosphorus imager for 24 hours (Fig. 3).


Fig. 3:  Photostimulated luminescence  picture of the Cs-137 distribution in a 2 mm thick slice of  a deer truffle (left picture) and the pure spore mass (right picture) through a phosphorus imager











The principle of measuring is based on the stimulation of phosphorus atoms (p-32) via radioactive rays, in this case the rays emanating from Cs-137  predominate.  (photostimulated luminescence PSL). 

In the left picture the “photostimulated luminescence” image of the deer truffle is depicted.  Here the area between the lines designated 1 and 2 corresponds to the rind.  The right figure shows a section of the same truffle without  the rind.   It is clearly visible that the highest activity occurs in the rind (orange color), while the spore mass inside contains distinctly less Cs-137 (right figure).  The color pattern outside of the rind comes from the scattering of the rays.  The Cs-137 activity of this truffle (weight 11 g) was additionally tested with a bore hole detector.  The rind contained 17,560 Bq/kg (FS), the spore mass 2,050 Bq/kg.

Lit: Deer truffles – the dominant source of radiocaesium contamination of wild boar > Source

This research was conducted  with funds of the Federal Ministery for Environment. Nature Protection, and Reactor Safety
This report reflects the views and opinions of the contractor and need not necessarily correspond to those of the sponsor.


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