Food and household water

Radioactive cesium concentration in mushrooms can be reduced

Radioactive cesium concentration in mushrooms can be reduced

The amount of radioactive cesium (cesium-137) in mushrooms can be reduced during cooking, using common mushroom treatment methods.

When mushrooms are soaked or boiled in water, most of the radioactive cesium in them is released into the water. The reduction of cesium-137 content in mushrooms is based on throwing away the water in which the mushrooms were soaked or boiled.

As much as 70–80 per cent of the cesium in mushrooms can be eliminated by soaking or boiling the mushrooms in water. The treatment can be made more efficient by using more water than instructed in the general instructions or by repeating the treatment. This can remove as much as 90–95 per cent of the cesium. Soaking dried or salted mushrooms in cold water overnight is more efficient than brief soaking in hot water. Drying mushrooms without soaking them does not reduce the amount of cesium.

Just rinsing fresh mushrooms in cold water does not reduce the cesium-137 concentration much, while soaking them in cold water overnight can reduce it by as much as 70 per cent.  

Squeezing water out of frozen mushrooms after thawing can reduce the amount of cesium-137 in them by more than 50 per cent, depending on the amount of water.

  Treatment method Treatment time Percentage of the original amount of cesium remaining in mushrooms after treatment

Soaking fresh mushrooms

  • cold water
  overnight       30–33%              
  • cold water
  1 hour       79%              
  • soaking in cold water twice
  2 hours and overnight       13–20%              
  • boiling water
  1 hour       5–14%              
  Blanching fresh mushrooms                      
  • mushrooms are put in cold water

until water boils

  • mushrooms are put in cold water
  5 minutes       18%              
  • mushrooms are put in boiling water
  5 minutes       14–32%              
  Freezing mushrooms       26–27%              
  Soaking dried mushrooms                      
  • boiling water
  1 hour       13–41%              
  • cold water
  1 hour       11–34%              
  • cold water
  overnight       15–33%              
  Soaking salted mushrooms                      
  • once in cold water
  overnight       13–18%              
  • twice in cold water
  2 hours and overnight       5%              
  Boiling salted mushrooms   2–5 minutes       18–29%              



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