Preliminary results on Tuber borchii ecological studies

bianchetto truffle farmed in Spain by micofora

A few months ago we published a poster at the TAUESG Vísby conference about Tuber borchii ecology, comparing natural producing sites in Portugal, Spain and Hungary.

Here you have links to download the poster:

Preliminary results on Tuber borchii Vitt. ecological studies 2018

Tuber borchii Vitt., also known as bianchetto, is considered to be a valuable species among the white truffles. Plantations have been established in Italy, Portugal, Spain, and New-Zealand. The natural distribution T. borchii is reported to Europe from United Kingdom to Hungary, and from Poland to Sicily. It is considered common in Italy where the species has been widely cultivated and used as a useful organism in molecular studies.

Main host plants of the species include stone pine (Pinus pinea L.) and maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) but it is also frequent under broad-leaved trees, such as oaks (Quercus spp.), larch (Larix spp.), and beech (Fagus spp.). Bianchetto truffle prefers sandy, free draining, calcareous soils with a pH around 7.

The present investigation focuses on natural Tuber borchii habitats, and plantations, located in Hungary, Portugal, Spain, and New Zealand. The characterisation of soil properties and detailed description of habitats have being conducted in truffières of those countries, and the presence of truffle mycorrhizae is being measured by morphological/anatomical tools.

Previous results show a wide range of host plants in Europe, with P. pinea and Quercus suber L. the main species in Portugal; Pinus sylvestris L., Quercus ilex L., Quercus pubescens Willd., and Quercus coccifera L. in Spain; and Quercus cerris L. and Quercus robur L. in Hungary. Canopy coverage ranges from 10% to 35% in Portugal, 40-80% in Spain and 85-90% in Hungary. Standard techniques are being employed to assess soil chemistry and texture.


Marcos S. Morcillo

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Coming Truffle Farming Conferences in the US

North American Truffle Growers Association

This february two conferences are organized in each coast of the US.

This coming weekend 2nd February the North American Truffle Growers Association makes its winter conference in Charlottesville (Virginia). I´ll be there as speaker to give two lectures about our latest research on adding truffle spores to the soil to boost fruitings. In fact I´m writing this post at the airport waiting my flight to Washington 😉

The second conference is organized will be the Idaho Truffle Farmers Weekend, February 22-24, 2019: idahotrufflefarmersweekend2019

This Associacion is member of the Western Truffle Growers Association. Will be held at the foothills above the City of Eagle, the heart of the Idaho truffle country which presently produces two varieties (T. melanosporum and T. borchii) and boasts three truffle farms with over 10,000 truffle trees planted.


Looking forward to meet friends and other american growers tonight.

Marcos S. Morcillo

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How to reduce glyphosate for weed control on truffle farming?

glyphosate on truffle farming

Glyphosate is translocated from shoots to roots and later released into the rhizosphere and can be later found in the soil up to one year later. There are plenty of papers that study its effect on mycorrhizal fungi but almos nothing on truffle:

–  Glyphosate herbicide affects belowground interactions between earthworms and symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi in a model ecosystem

–  Weed management and irrigation are key treatments in emerging black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) cultivation.

-Chakravarty & Sidhu 2007 [ectomycorrhizalfungi]:Fungal growth was significantly(P = 0.05) reduced particularly at concentrations above 10 ppm.

-Laatikainen & Heinonen-Tanski 2002 [ectomycorrhizalfungi] maneb, glyphosateand terbuthylazin estimulated the growth of some mycorrhizal fungi……

-Pasaribuet al. 2013 [arbuscularmycorrhizalfungi] Glomus growth was unaffected by glyphosate treatments. P intakeincreased.

-Beyrleet al. 2011 [orchidmycorrhizas] Application of glyphosate at0.5 or 1.0 mMhadno effect on fungal growth

– repeated use of glyphosate selects against grasses in favour of dicotyledons, Sourzat(2002

If you have a garden should know how much effort is to keep it without weeds. So to create an brûlé, a “bull fight arena” with no weeds at all it is not free! truffle invests energy to do it and if we help it, truffle will enjoy. Moreover trees will grow better without competition. So we´ve seen like glyphosate and other herbicides had a good effect on truffle mycelium concentration, but we do not want truffles with herbicides on them, right?

Here some tips. One option for the first 3 years is to use a white fabric geo textile:

Trees are first planted, irrigation pipes with e.g. 2 drippers/tree of 4L/h lay over surface and fabric is placed over the trees so they lie down. After that with a cutter we take trees out over the fabric, so they look like the following image:

weed control in truffle farming

Once trees start producing, we will need to control weeds out but over brules as well. Offset implements are great for that task so we till over brules but do not drive over them! see this power harrow on a young orchard:

During summer and autumn we will need to control weeds every 4-8 weeks, so power harrows or vibrotillers do a good job just tilling 3-4cm deep. We´ll kill (thin) the top shallow truffles, but won´t disturb the deeper ones or the ones at the spanish wells…

vibrotiller for truffle farming

implements for truffle farming


Marcos S. Morcillo


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how has 2018 black truffle season gone in the southern hemisphere?


This year, the countries of the Southern Hemisphere have had a black truffle season that in some cases has ended earlier and suddenly. Possibly due to a particularly wet autumn that may have caused many truffles to be harvested at the beginning of the season.


From the Association of Truffle Growers of Chile (ATChile) they tell us that they are quite satisfied, with several cases where the first production is given to the third year. In relation to exports this year there have been shipments abroad regularly, with the truffle being very well received. Note shipments are small but regular volumes.

Some plantations, still young have tripled the productions with respect to the previous year. One of the objectives that they intend to work with is to improve fruitbody size. The plantations more to the coast (with more clay textures) harvest larger truffles and several between 400 and 600 grs.

Quercus ilex are the trees that have given the best results. In several of the audits we have done in the country, Quercus robur appears with high contamination and low productivity.
This year there has been a marked interest in introducing more growers to this crop and others to expand their orchards, probably due to the productive results of several truffieres, some of them around 45 kilos per hectare with regular start of exports,  and with a high demand that could not be satisfied. Also, given that several plantations began to produce, including one of 40 hectares, the association estimates that for the next two years there will be an important leap in the production of Chilean black truffles, easily surpassing the ton.

There are some 400 hectares planted. This year, at least in ATChile, there are new projects for more than 40 hectares. Around 65 growers.

The estimated production for this season would be around 500 kilos. The association expected higher production, but some management complications and periodic rains in the southern area seem to have affected.

From the association send us this video:
I leave you a photograph of their president Javier Rozas, with some truffles from his plantation, with great regular shape:

trufas chile 2


In Argentina this industry is just taking off, with just about 58 kilograms for 2018, taking into account that there are 4 orchards with production and that the oldest ones are just 8 years old.

A single orchard is currently the main producer of the country contributing more than 60% of the total harvested in Argentina. Even with a young plantation, as their oldest trees are only 6 years old.

The truffle is consumed in the domestic market mainly since even the production volumes are low. On the other hand, it begins to be known in the country and create some domestic demand, thanks to the diffusion in TV media like this one:


South Africa truffle farming map micofora

in 2018 there are in the “Western Cape” region plantations with a total of 180 hectares that are young or just entering production.

In the areas of “Eastern Cape” and “Natal”, in mid-August and in the absence of the last weeks of the season, 40 kg of truffles of different qualities had been harvested.

Probably total crop for the whole country around 80 kilos of melano. Note some borchii orchards started to fruit as well on various trees including poplars and pecans…



truffle farming map of Australia micofora

Australia’s production of Périgord Black Truffle is very much skewed towards Western Australia with over 90% of the exports originating within 30km radius from the town of Manjimup – all within the Southern Forests Region of Western Australia:


melanosporum production data for Australia,  as for many countries, is difficult to calculate with certainty. In Australia the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), a government department, collects information about exports according to a set of product codes.

Much of the east coast production is sold domestically and there is a strong agritourism industry as these truffieres are typically within 90 mins of large urban centres. This then also reflects in a higher average price per kilo in the east.

Australian Total Fresh Exports of T. melanosporum by weight was 8.5t and is 30% up on 2017 (ABS data)

Using this export data as a base Australia’s total production of saleable truffle as follows:

8.5t       exported fresh truffle from May to End of August 2018 – all grades

1.5t       best guess for local consumption as fresh truffle (low 1.2t to high 1.7t)

0.6t       frozen for sale as frozen truffle or use in gourmet truffle products

0.4t       other sales

By this calculation the total is 11t saleable truffle

At 2018 ATGA Conference in September in Medlow Bath, NSW, delegates from each state put forward their estimates of the amount of truffle sold based on their polling of members

9.50t        WA

1t        Victoria

1.20t        NSW includes Canberra

0.90t        Tasmania

12.20t       Australia

So the best guess for the 2018 Australian Truffle production is  11.4t to 12.9 t


All the best,

Marcos S. Morcillo

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Bookings open for the new editions of the Barcelona Truffle Tour 2018/19

truffle farming seminars in Barcelona

We just have new dates for the coming editions of the only 2 truffle growing seminars in english language we will organize in Barcelona:

10th-14th december 2018  and  11th -15th february 2019

This year we created a new full day “hands on” workshop on truffle spores & mycorrhizae. Here you will learn what kind of microscopes and magnifying lens you need to analyze truffle spores and roots and of course, how to use them.

The main topics will be:

Distinguish Tuber spores. So you can analyze your inoculum or truffles in your orchards and avoid low quality truffles as brumale or indicum.
Learn the morphology of the main Tuber species mycorrhizae.
Learn how to analyze the level of mycorrhization of a truffle seedling before planting it.
Learn the morphology of the main contaminant fungi…

Note group size is limited to 20 people & just 8 people for the microscope workshop.

And if you want to see what we do in these seminars, just get in

See you in Barcelona!

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Is it possible to multi crop chestnuts and truffles?

Tuber and castanea farming

We already wrote in this blog a few years ago abut how we were hunting truffles on chestnuts trees, even on slightly acidic slate soil.

I was reviewing now a paper published almost a year ago about this topic:

Multi-cropping edible truffles and sweet chestnuts: production of high-quality Castanea sativa seedlings inoculated with Tuber aestivum, its ecotype T. uncinatum, T. brumale, and T. macrosporum

I´ve found particulary Tuber melanosporum, brumale and aestivum under chestnut in Catalonia.

C. sativa is the only native species of the genus in Europe with wide distribution throughout Southern Europe, showing its ability to adapt to a variety of environmental conditions. It is managed for timber as well as for fruit production. But its distribution has been reduced specially for disease issues.

In this study the authors produced well infected trees with aestivum, uncinatum ecotype, brumale and macrosporum, the last one reaching lower mycorrhization rates.

Chestnuts normally avoid limy soils, but in this study, despite the high concentration of calcium in the substrate, most of the inoculated plants did not show evident symptoms of nutritional deficiencies as reflected by photosystem activity. Moreover, brumale inoculation improved tree performance.


Besides the potential to grow chestnuts with truffles, the multi crop (same with hazel nuts) is something quite complicated due to the fertilization required and mainly harvesting the nuts, in the fall when most of these truffles are already formed in the soil, the soil is normally quite wet, so won´t tolerate compaction with heavy machinery, nor even people moving around. But worth exploring anyway!

Have a nice end of summer (and nice end of truffle season in the southern hemisphere 😉

Marcos S. Morcillo

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Micofora just published two job offers to join the team in Barcelona

viveros planta trufera Micofora en IRTA

JOB OFFER,  July 9th2018


We´re a biotech company that researches, develops and market technologies and products for the cultivation of wild mushrooms and truffles. We produce mycorrhizae spawn for forestry and agricultural sectors. We produce truffle trees as well and consult and offer our technologies all over the  the world.

Our company coordinates some scientific projects, with our own actitivy on R+D. Innovation, creativity and technical rigor characterize our work system, with publications and presentation of communications in congresses.

One of our main areas is truffle farming and we need to incorporate 2 people to the truffle team with the following profiles:


The main tasks to perform will be molecular analysis (PCR) and mycorrhizal analysis at the microscope. Knowledge will also be valued in nursery control, truffle, mycorrhizal fungi and experience in sampling (since in certain periods of the year it is possible that the person will be responsible for maintenance of the nursery and can also make field visits to the field).


We are looking for a graduate or engineer. The main tasks to be performed will be customer service, technical visits to plantations and responsible for controlling different parts of the mycorrhized plant production process (experience in nursery management will also be valued). Although training and / or experience in truffle farming is essential, the company will be responsible for transferring the company’s philosophy to the new technician, as well as the protocols and criteria that will be established in relation to the different technologies and products we work with.

Although at first, these tasks will be carried out mainly within Spain, the job is designed to meet international projects (once acquired the necessary experience). Therefore, an excellent level of English and availability to travel is essential. French proficiency will also be assessed.

Salary offered: € 1700 / month net during the first phase of integration to the team, which can be reviewed when  start working on projects abroad.


In both cases we seek to incorporate the contracted people to the Miclogia Forestal & Aplicada team in Barcelona (Spain), making them part of a long-term project, where they can progress economically and professionally within the company.


Interested send your C.V. at


job offer MICOFORA 2018

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How the 2017-18 season of black truffle has been in Spain and France?


truffle whole sale prices in Spain Teruel market in 2018 season

It’s been more than a month since we officially finished the black truffle season in Spain in March 15th. Again it has been the worst I remember, like last year.

The figure makes the typical picture, with low prices at the beginning as quality is low, raising to maximum during Christmas, to drop after Christmas holidays when most Michelin restaurants close and raising up again in late January-February, when truffles are at its best and demand raises due to the canneries who are eager to buy to autoclave to get stock for the year.

Figures are not complete at the end of the season. I will try to update them as soon as I get the latest figures. I would like to thank the Teruel Truffle Growers Association to be able to share these figures.

Blue line: whole sale minimum price

Red line: whole sale maximum price  

Green line: : retail average price 
In July and August the season was good, it was not a dry summer and the plantations had a lot of truffles, however between September and November it did not rain anything which caused the truffles, already formed, to dry on the ground. In addition to the lack of water, the temperatures of autumn were very high and did not get to cool down enough on the nights of October and November.
Even so, the season started with a lot of truffles in the markets, double that of previous years. But you could see truffle had suffered, it was dry, more “engraved on the surface”. I imagine the climatic conditions caused that most of them were harvested before Christmas, when in a normal year would have left on the ground for January-February. Therefore when it arrived January-February, which is when the truffle is at its best and when companies usually make stock, the quantities collected were half of the previous year, with a production that did not cover the strong demand. Hence the high prices of this campaign.
With all this, and always without having real total data, I think I’m not wrong if I say that this season has closed with some 40 tons produced in Spain, therefore similar to the season 2016/17, but in general with worse quality truffle:

black truffle prices in Spain Teruel in 2016 2017 season

Truffle prices probably have been so high due to the low production in France. See the Carpentras truffle market data for the last 4 seasons:

truffle market prices in France Carpentras

kilos of black truffle market in Carpentras France 2018

Weekly prices for Lalbenque market in France   (just write “truffe”)


Marcos S. Morcillo


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looking for truffle trees in the United States?

truffle trees DNA certified in the US

Last year we did a technology transfer agreement with Carolina Truffieres, in NC (USA) to produce mycorrhized truffle trees under our standards, to be marketed in the US.

The first thousands trees were produced in 2017 and this march 2018 we´ll travel again to North Carolina to inoculate the second batches of trees. We do think the success of truffle farming in Spain is due to the use of some tree varieties, with slow rate of growth that makes them less sensitive to contaminations with other fungi, and at the same time  create an environment of low canopy where Tuber melanosporum fruits perfectly.

We have been importing from Spain seeds from cold resistant tree species: Quercus ilex spp. rodundifolia (evergreen or holy oak), Quercus faginea (deciduous protuguesse oak), Quercus coccifera (kermes oak, a bush that can be used to increase tree density with our closing canopy). In most areas in Teruel or central Spain this bush produces most of the wild black truffle.

We are happy to have partners like Brian Upchurch with a large experience in tree nursery who can use or adapt our philosophy of truffle farming to the US. The inoculum used in their nursery is selected and produced in our lab in Barcelona, certified with DNA.

They will be offering our services and truffle products to american growers from now on. You can find them at:

269 Drake Farm Road
Fletcher NC 28732


Looking forward to see you soon in the States!


Marcos S. Morcillo



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new book Truffle and host trees pests & diseases

book pests and diseases of truffles and oaks micofora


LA SANIDAD EN TRUFICULTURA: Guía de identificación de agentes nocivos en la truficultura

This new book has just been released this month. For the first time a book about the main pests of the truffles, but mainly with technical sheets with up to 80 pests and diseases of Quercus ilex host tree in Spain.

We would like to thank to the coordinators of this book to invite the members or Micofora team to join to write a couple of chapters.

It will be so useful to technicians and truffle growers in order to distinguish the pathogens in our orchards and fight diseases!

Note anyhow that most chemical products commonly used in other crops are not registered to be used for oaks not for truffles, so even they could be effective, their use can not be legal in truffle plantations.

The book is now just printed in spanish. I don’t think an english version will be printed as most of these pests are not found in other countries overseas where truffles are being grown, but just in the mediterranean area.

You can get it at the Teruel Truffle Growers Association site:

for 25€ plus shipping costs.


Marcos S. Morcillo

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