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

Barcelona Truffle Tour new edition

Barcelona Truffle Tour

Just let you know that we are organizing 2 new editions of our truffle growing seminars in Barcelona, Spain.

These will be done in mid december and early february during the black truffle season.

Note this workshop is thought for small groups of no more than 17 people, in order to make better use of seminars and technical visits.

Besides 2 days in Barcelona area with morning seminars at the IRTA research center and afternoon field visits, we´ll move to Teruel, inland Spain where more than 8.000 hectares of truffle plantations are currently stablished.

We add to this edition a workshop on truffle aroma profile and post harvest treatments of fresh truffles.

More information at the new site:

Looking forward to meet you in Barcelona!

Marcos Morcillo & Xavier Vilanova


Posted in spanish truffle orchards, truffle conferences congress workshops, Truffle farming, truffle growing, truffle growing, truffle nurseries, spanish truffle orchards, truffle market and marketing, truffle nurseries, truffle post-harvest, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Productive Quercus suber orchard mycorrhized with Tuber melanosporum

cork oak producing black truffles

Quercus suber with Tuber melanosporum

In some areas in Catalonia there are some natural cork oak (Q. suber) truffiers producing Tuber melanosporum on acidic or neutral soils. We are currently studying these peculiar truffieres to understand its biology and wrote about it:

In fact, we had been producing infected cork oaks mainly with borchii, but also with melanosporum. However there is a lack of data about yields for black truffle orchard with corks.

suber tuber

This week we had been visiting a 12 years old orchard of Q. suber mixed with Q. coccifera (kermes oak, a bush oak). As you may see in the pics it is a high density orchard (4 x 2,5 meters), and the aim of the bush is to be able to increase this density without closing canopy and so allowing sun light to reach the ground.


As the area has natural low pH the owner added limestone before planting to raise it and, It is a sandy loam soil with excelent drainage and consequently high water demand, The farm has a lack of water so the grower decided to instal a drip irrigation system and adittionally to use some mulchings. The orchard started to produce at year 5 and keep on working quite well.

Note our team will be visiting truffle plantations in California at the end of June-early July this summer. If anyone interested contact Marcos at


Xavier Vilanova

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

pruning tips for truffle growers


As a rule, pruning will start in the second or third winter, depending on the tree’s development. The holm oak usually forms two or three dominant trunks, which it is better to cut from the beginning when they are young and still small in diameter. Pruning has traditionally been carried out at the end of winter, but in climates where trees grow too fast we recommend green pruning in summer, because pruning at this time limits the tree’s vegetative growth.

Last week I was in north Spain analyzing truffieres. One of them you can see in the pictures. It is an orchard of 9 years old that is heavily pruned each winter to turn again to the same size, so not allowing these ilex to grow higher. You can see at the second picture a control tree not pruned. Level of truffle infection is great, and some trees already producing. It will be nice to see how yields develop this way.


Note that holm oak leaves can stay in the tree for over 3 years, but the old leaves just breathe and waste sugars produced by the new leaves, so competing with truffles for nutrients. It is advisable to prune trees inside the canopy, so that this is aerated and permits rain to pass through it and wet the soil. Otherwise, the holm oak tends to form an umbrella and gather rain water at the base of its trunk as a funnel.

It is now known that the truffle extracts all its carbon and sugars from the tree, which is why it is necessary to maintain a tree healthy and vigorous. No heavy pruning should be carried out that curbs the tree’s development or significantly impairs its photosynthetic capacity. Therefore, heavy or green pruning should be carried out, above all, during the early years, before entry into production. Once production begins, pruning should only be done at the end of the truffle gathering season (end of winter), to generate new shoots and new leaves with a higher photosynthetic rate.


Watch out for cankers like the ones on this pic, mostly caused by phytoplasms. Disinfect pruning tools in order to not propagate them.

Note I will be in California (USA) in mid june analyzing some truffle plantations. As I still have not closed the schedule of visits, if any grower in the area is interested in a technical visit, just write me at


Marcos S. Morcillo


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