Thirty-nine ectomycorrhizal isolates of Paxillus involutus, Pisolithus tinctorius, Suillus bovinus, S. luteus and S. variegatus were tested on
cadmium, copper, nickel and zinc amended media to determine their in vitro tolerance, measured as inhibition of biomass production.
Twenty-one isolates were from heavy metal polluted sites, whereas the others were from non-contaminated soils. There was a
strong interspecific variation in metal tolerance. S. luteus, S. variegatus and P. tinctorius were more tolerant of Cu, Cd and Zn when
compared with P. involutus, whereas the reverse was true for Ni. A high intraspecific heterogeneity in metal tolerance was also
found. EC50 values for isolates originating from polluted sites were not statistically different from EC50 values for isolates originating
from non-contaminated sites. The findings are discussed in relation to the potential benefits of ectomycorrhizal fungi in protecting
their host plants from metal contamination.