How last truffle season has been in the southern hemisphere?

black truffle orchard in Australia
Australia is becoming a large stakeholder of black truffle world wide market. With over 13 tones of black truffles produced last season, from which have been marketed over 9 tones.
East coast prices have been high, around AU$1500 a kg average, but west coast prices from larger growers have been from AU$750-1000 a kg.
So the large west growers estimates the industry to be AU$ 8 million at the farm gate!
The big difference from coast to coast, from large growers to “boutique” ones, could make non viable economically small plantations.
In New Zealand, where the aggregate harvest (all species) is estimated to be 0,5 tone, Tuber brumale production sadly exceeds Tuber melanosporum.
In South Africa there are just 3 orchards producing but just one of them produced almost a kilo a week.
In Chile, season started to go down at mid august and ended by 10th september.
The estimated crop has been of 150 kilos, so raising quite fast from the estimated 60kilos harvested last year. It could easily double next year.
Note most of the 400 hectares of truffle orchards in Chile are still young, so just 50 of those have started to fruit, and just 4 of them with commercial crops between 20 and 40 kilos/hectare.
And in Argentina, there is a large truffiere (50 hectares) that just started to produce so will get some kilos in the future…
Thanks to Fred Harden and Javier Rozas for their updates on Australia and Chile.
Marcos S. Morcillo
Posted in Truffle farming, truffle growing, truffle market and marketing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

more insights about black truffle reproduction

copyright from doi:

Image copyright from doi:

Just back from the IWEMM8 in France, with plenty of topics to discuss in this Blog. Two new papers help us to understand how black truffle reproduces sexually.

Understanding the sex life of truffles is fundamental to understanding truffle production. Let me remind you that has been found that mycorrhizae and the mycelium that comes from them is always female (positive or negative, but female), and that the male partner of the black truffle has never been found or seen, so we think it could be a dwarf or a temporally partner that does not last in the soil. We have not seen it but by definition it should exist for sexual reproduction to happen.

We knew that black truffle was hermaphrodite (♂ & ♀), so when spores germinated they could become male or female, depending on conditions.  I.e. if a positive spore germinates in an area where the mycelium that surrounds, that is always female, is positive as well, then that spore will germinate as a female. But if a positive spore germinates in an area where the mycelium is negative (and always female), then may germinate as a male, so sexual reproduction may happen.

But a new publication from Herminia de la Varga shows that hermaphroditism although is present in black truffle is not the most frequent. There is a male/female specialization as well. So trioecy exists in black truffle.

So female-fertile genotypes as mycorrhizas, and male-fertile genotypes as soil free-living mycelium.

Elisa Taschen group published a parallel paper where they postulate that germlings from the soil spore bank act as paternal partners.


Marcos S. Morcillo


Herminia de la Varga et al. 2016.Investigation of the sexual reproduction strategy of the Perigord black truffle (Tuber melanosporum Vittad.) revealed trioecy.
Taschen et al. 2016. How the truffle got its mate: insights from genetic structure in spontaneous and planted Mediterranean populations of Tuber melanosporum
Posted in truffle conferences congress workshops, Truffle farming, truffle growing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Metagenomics and diversity in truffieres


I think I never stayed so long without writing a post. Apologize for that. The South African trip has been long and busy🙂

I´m just preparing the lecture I will do in Cahors in 2 weeks and re-checking all the data we got from one of our latest research, and its a lot of fun trying to digest it and extract conclusions.

Let me attach here a couple of the slides. We did several metagenomic analysis on truffieres, using Ion Torrent technique. This is, we amplify and sequence all fungal DNA from brûles. It´s amazing the huge biodiversity in a place where almost no weeds may grow…


Because every truffle growers is using spanish wells to add mating types to the soil, we did another experiment adding 3 truffle spores doses and inoculating in two different months and later quantifying the total truffle mycelium and again if the biodiversity has changed in the brûle, and we can see how the percentage or frequency of Tuber sequences change depending on treatments!

The results have a direct application in the development of new technologies for truffle farming:

-traceability of fungal mycelium

-methods to increase yields

-to evaluate the effects of different managements in beneficial microbial communities for the ecosystem (biodiversity).

As metagenomic results are quantitative, this technique may be useful for studies on diversity dynamics after plantation management, as well as to identify fungal species associated (positively or negatively) to Tuber persistence. I.e. when we compare productive and non productive trees, we see like Scleroderma is significantly more present, with 17% of the DNA sequences, in productive trees (see slide 2).

See you in Cahors!

All the best from Barcelona!

Marcos S. Morcillo


Posted in truffle conferences congress workshops, Truffle farming, truffle growing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

new aussie record truffle, why?

huge australian black truffle

I take this post to say congrats to Stuart Dunbar for the huge truffle harvested at his plantation close to Melbourne, more than one kilo and a half of truffle is a lot! I´ve had in my hands one slightly over half a kilo but I can just maybe get the feeling of digging up one like that.

After this news comes to my head the great short film that already started years ago in this blog, maybe Stuart you felt like him😉
A Bout de Truffe (The Truffle Hunter) part 1 of 2
A Bout de Truffe (The Truffle Hunter) part 2 of 2

I recommend his blog where he explains what happens on his plantation:

When I visited his plantation three years ago the ground was very heavy, heavy clay in some patches, actually a clay percentage that normally advise against because causes compaction, asfixia and rot in truffles.
This plantation as many in Australia, Chile or South Africa started from quite a low pH which was heavily modified with over a hundred tons of lime a hectare.
Rechecking this particular ground we increasingly clear that the black truffle can grow in many soils and to put some limits on certain parameters becomes meaningless. Just Stuart knows what he had done in orchard management, but clay if well managed can produce huge truffles as already seen before in Australia.

I write this post from South Africa where I will be several weeks for work and some vacations as well, so the frequency of posts will be lower than usual.

pinus pinea in South Africa

I put a photo that I’ve done to my family in a centenary stone pine (Pinus pinea). Surprised how well this species has been naturalized in this region of the Western Cape. Is there any truffle hunter who feels like coming with a truffle dog in the area to search for Tuber borchii? there are large stone pine forests over sandy soil, and in several areas, limy.

Marcos Morcillo

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

We´ll present a paper in the next IWEMM in Cahors, France OCT2016


The scientific committee just accepted us a research paper to be presented at the next International Workshop on Edible Mycorrhiza Mushrooms (IWEMM) in Cahors, France.

We´ll present the results of a research project done in collaboration with the Dr. Xavier Parladé and Dr. Joan Pera, from IRTA (Barcelona). I hope to see you there this october!


Marcos S. Morcillo


Marcos Morcillo1, Javier Parladé2, Joan Pera2, Mónica Sanchez1, Xavier Vilanova1

Key words: Management of natural and cultivated populations, Tuber melanosporum, Real Time PCR, Ion-Torrent, truffiere biodiversity, seasonal mycelium quantification

This study had three main objectives: 1) to evaluate the seasonal dynamics of Tuber melanosporum mycelium in a plantation, 2) to develop and validate a system to reinoculate black truffle in pre-productive orchards and 3) to determine fungal biodiversity in black truffle truffieres on productive trees, reinoculated trees and outside the brûles.

The quantitative detection of T. melanosporum mycelium in the soil was carried out by qPCR following the method described by Parladé et al. (2013) in five samples collected seasonally throughout an entire year. For fungal biodiversity studies we performed total DNA extraction and massive sequencing using the ion-TorrentTM platform.

The results showed seasonal differences in distribution of black truffle mycelium in the soil. In winter surveys and early spring less mycelium was detected in the soil as compared to summer. We interpret that the mycelium is more abundant during periods of active growth of the tree, although with some delay in spring as probably Quercus ilex uses its own sugars for growth before feeding through the truffle mycelium. We found higher mycelium concentrations in producing than in non-producing trees.

In the determinations of fungal biodiversity in the soil we obtained 379,281 fungal sequences corresponding to a range between 17,000 and 42,000 sequences for each of the eight treatments considered. These sequences were identified to distinguish the effect of treatments on the saprophytic and symbiotic fungal communities.

The results have a direct application in the development of new technologies for truffle farming. In particular, the traceability of fungal mycelium (services), methods to increase yields (innovation) and to evaluate the effects of different managements in beneficial microbial communities for the ecosystem (biodiversity).

Reference: Parladé et al. 2013. Quantification of extraradical mycelium of Tuber melanosporum in soils from truffle orchards in Northern Spain. Mycorrhiza (2013) 23:99–106.


Posted in truffle conferences congress workshops, truffle growing, truffle growing, truffle nurseries, spanish truffle orchards, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Growing black truffles in Greece

Last week we analyzed with Real Time PCR several soil samples from one of the black truffle plantations we have in Greece. In this case north of Greece, close to the border to Bulgaria.

There are several host trees in this truffle plantation, Quercus pubescens, Quercus ilex and Quercus coccifera (local seed origin), but the host tree with higher concentration of truffle mycelium was the downy oak,  with 1,96mg of Tuber melanosporum mycelium/gram of soil.

Black truffle farming in Greece has a great potential with several orchards already fruiting. Moreover, Tuber borchii can be found almost everywhere in the country, from the pine forests of the hills overlooking the sea, practically 50-100meters of altitude in sandy grounds and in oaks and pines higher in the mountains. Prices paid per kilo in Greece typically for bianchetto around 150€/kg to the harvester.

But the most exciting news is that Tuber magnatum is quite well distributed as well in Greece. Since I posted about it 3 years ago  now several hunters are gathering this white truffle along the country. It looks magnatum enjoy the south eastern areas of Europe, not just Croatia and Bosnia…


Marcos S. Morcillo

Posted in Truffle farming, truffle growing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

ICOM 9 – 9th International Conference on Mycorrhiza


My team will be attending the next International Workshop on Edible Mycorrhizal Mushrooms in Cahors (France) next october 2016. This workshop was created as a small group from the large International Conference on Mycorrhiza to be able to discuss just topics about edible mycorrhizal mushrooms, as most topics on ICOM are related to endomycorrhizas, the ones mostly used for agriculture.

The next ICOM 9 – 9th International Conference on Mycorrhiza will be in Prague, Czech Republic   July 30 to August 4,2017

And after the french coming, the next IWEMM-9 will be in México in July 2017!

Just received information about this new conference, just in case anyone is interested to attend:


Marcos S. Morcillo

Posted in truffle conferences congress workshops, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 2 Comments


Australian Truffle Growers annual meeting

The Australian Truffle Growers Association will host its annual meeting this year 2016 in MANJIMUP AGM & CONFERENCE SEPTEMBER 9, 10 & 11: ´Commercialising the Australian Truffle Industry’

See details of speakers and programme here:

Looks great. Looking forward to see how they close the truffle season down under.


Marcos S. Morcillo


Posted in truffle conferences congress workshops, truffle market and marketing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

First results of borchii infection on Dundee hazels


Last year we started a project focused to get truffles as a complementary crop of hazel nut plantations. The innovative of this approach is to consider truffles as a complement, so managing hazel is fully focused on the production of hazelnuts. This means that some of the treatments applied may be, a priori, harmful to Tuber mycorrhizae.
We use the technique of root dip at two phases of the implementation process of the hazels raised in Coselva (the largest nut trader cooperative in Catalonia). This is at the rooting phase of the variety Dundee produced in vitro (latter grafted with the variety of hazelnut desired, mostly Negret N-9, who is resident to some viruses) and at the phase of field out plant.

A year after inoculation in both phases we already have the first results. In the case of root dip at seedling stage to in vitro Dundee variety, we detected the presence of mycorrhizae in all samples analyzed. However, as we expected, infection levels were lower than those obtained in our nurseries for the production of mycorrhizal plants (an average of 35% +/- 5%) in nurseries of Coselva versus > 60 % of our comercializated trees). In the case of the grafted and out planted in field, mycorrhizae also were detected in most samples, but levels of infection were more variable (0-50%). 
These results are lower than similar previous project made in Chile.
It should be noted that management applied to the hazels in this project is the same used for the cultivation of the nut (use of fertilizers, pesticides, tillage, pruning, etc.) In this sense, it seems remaracable the finding of mycorrhizae.  Again we conclude how competitive Tuber borchii is, as we already found in the inoculations done in wild oaks and pines in Portugal.

Xavier Vilanova & Marcos  Morcillo

Posted in Truffle farming, truffle growing, truffle nurseries, spanish truffle orchards, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

new papers and mushroom cultivation book

mushroom cultivation book peter Oei

Just wanted to share a couple of papers and new books that has just been published on mushroom cultivation, worth having them.

Current status of truffle cultivation: recent results and future perspectives A. Zambonelli, M. Iotti, I. Hall Micologia Italiana vol. 44 (2015) ISSN 2465‐311X. DOI: 10.6092/issn.2465-311X/5593

Plus this other interesting about “truffle sex” presented last summer at the conference on Tuber aestivum in UK: Significance of the spore mat in Tuber. Ian R. Hall, Alessandra Zambonelli and Weiping Xiong. 

Happy to be referenced in the last one, although note I write these posts in a quite relaxed way trying to be more informative than strictly scientific ;-)

Peter Oei new book:
and this other one from Tradd Cotter:
Marcos S. Morcillo
Posted in truffle books, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment