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  https://rnm.franceagrimer.fr/prix   (just write “truffe”)

Cheers,

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

828-301-0729

brian@carolinatruffieres.com

Looking forward to see you soon in the States!

Cheers

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: http://trufadeteruel.com/blog/la-sanidad-en-truficultura-guia-de-identificacion-de-agentes-nocivos-en-la-truficultura/

for 25€ plus shipping costs.

Cheers,

Marcos S. Morcillo

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Our New Truf-Up Spanish Wells Substrate


Truf-up spanish wells product to boost truffles

During the last decade we’ve been running at Micofora several Research and Development projects. Some of their results and conclusions have been posted in this blog. Three of these projects have been:

a) Isolation of bacterias from highly productive truffieres

b) Assays to develop a truffle farming fertilizer

c) Response of truffle mycelium of different doses of spores and time of inoculation for the spanish wells 

All these plus the results of an old project to develop a technology to inoculate mature hazels trees with truffles have led to finally develop two commercial products:

  • Truf-Up Spanish Wells Substrate

    ,with an specific formula to add in form of wells or ditches around the truffle trees, so we improve truffle shape, so you get more round fruit bodies, better soil structure, tree fertility, enhance truffle mycelium concentration, plus add the “male factor” to boost truffle fruiting.

  • Truf-Up Bioestimulant

    with specific bacteria strains and other active compounds to increase truffle mycelium in soil and improve tree fitness.

Truf-Up micofora truffle products

These products are now being released in Spain and Europe and will be soon available for truffle growers overseas.

Any doubt about them write us at micologiaforestal@micofora.com

Cheers,

Marcos S. Morcillo

 

 

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How we produce our truffle inoculum at micofora?


tuber magnatum inoculum at micofora
At Micofora, Barcelona, we produce truffle inoculum weekly during the harvesting season. We select the optimum spores from the best truffles using a compound and a stereo microscopes as well as DNA test. The aim of these analysis is to detect potential contaminants species, other that the desired, and also to check the maturity of the spores.  We have and agreement with our truffle suppliers, we return to them the ascocarps that didn’t passed the test (usually more than 50% of the truffle are returned to the supplier, especially early in the season when the spores are not mature yet).
Tuber melanosporum inoculum analysis microscope
We don’t know which factors are involved that will regulate the truffle size, probably there are several, e.g. a genetic trait; Micofora always prefer to use large fruit bodies to produce inoculum.

We run a DNA test for each truffle to be used as inoculum, as a double check in order to avoid the presence of other Tuber than the desired species on the inoculum.

DNA analysis truffle micofora
DNA truffles for inoculum at micofora

Micofora can supply pure inoculum to nurseries and truffle plantation. This product was checked under microscopes, the species confirmed with DNA, sterilized, lyophilized (freeze-dried), grounded and sieved, all these process was done under the supervision of highly trained and experienced staff.

In our experience sending freeze-dried inoculum overseas is cheaper and easier because the low weight of the mail order. Around 80% of the truffle weight is water, sending our prepared product will reduce the weight from 1kg of fresh truffle to 200gr.

freeze drying Tuber magnatum for inoculum at micofora
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New places available for our truffle growing technical seminars in Barcelona


truffle farming seminars in Spain

We are just preparing the new edition of our Barcelona Truffle Tour workshops, that will be running during the week of 12th-17th next month, February 2018.

The Tour was full before Christmas, so we told growers there were no places left, but due to last minute cancellations, we have 4 places available!

So if you were eager to join, and learn the latest truffle farming techniques, see the best machinery and implements to use, learn about the marketing and value chain of truffles, plus participate in our hands on workshop on aromas and post harvest packaging of fresh truffles, this is your chance.

See you in Barcelona!

 

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truffle growing all over the World in 2017


World black truffle farming by micofora

Last December the largest truffle fair in Spain was in Teruel, it is called FITRUF. We helped to create this infographics for the main newspaper in Teruel, who made an special number about truffles and truffle growing.

Apologize but it has not been edited in english language.

Every year new countries join the club of the ones who have been successful growing black truffles, like Israel in 2017.

Happy New Year from Barcelona!

Marcos S. Morcillo

 

 

 

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How do truffles feed and get its Nitrogen?


how do truffle feed by micofora

The tree and the truffle form a symbiotic relationship. The tree uses the mycelial web of the fungus as a fishing net that allows it to absorb water and nutrients that by itself can not assimilate or would do it in much smaller amount. The truffle obtains sugars from the tree, which it produces through photosynthesis. This exchange takes place in the roots of the trees through some organs called mycorrhizae, the symbiotic structure. At a cellular level, the fungus absorbs basically inorganic phosphorus (P) from the soil, in the form of polyphosphates and nitrogen mineral (N) in the form of nitrates. On the other hand, the starch stored in the tree is transformed into sucrose that breaks down into glucose and fructose, forms that the fungus can assimilate.

Nitrogen is one of the essential compounds of living organisms, necessary for the synthesis of proteins. Tuber melanosporum contains on average 5% N. This can come from the soil or atmospheric fixed by the bacteria that inhabit the same truffle. Each gram of truffle contains up to 100 million microorganisms!

In the case of T. magnatum it has been demonstrated how these nitrogen-fixing bacteria play an important role (Barbieri 2010), although this has not been demonstrated for melanosporum.
In the case of the black truffle, the mycelium that explores the soil is able to absorb the nitrate from the soil and reduce it. The forms of glutamate, glutamine and asparagine are the main amino acids transferred from the mycorrhizae to the tree. They could also be transferred from same mycorrhizae to the growing truffles.
The fruiting bodies, the truffles, can not directly absorb the nitrates from the soil, but these come from the mycorrhizae at all times.
In mycorrhizae, nitrate can be reduced to ammonium, which is then transferred to the truffle.
In conclusion, the soil organic nitrogen, which comes from litter and soil organic matter, gets transformed into ammonium and nitrate, which is taken by mycorrhizae, and from there, a part is used to feed the host tree and the other to the truffle.
Cheers and Merry Christmas!
Marcos Morcillo
References:
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How many baby truffles are formed per square meter?


Tuber melanosporum sexuality reproduction by micofora

We just wrote a chapter for a new book that will be published soon about pests and diseases of truffle trees in Spain. We wanted to update the truffle sexuality figure we made for our last book “Truffle Farming Today” with the new discoverings on truffle reproduction, and you can see here the new one!

In a mature truffle plantation, at a root level, there is a non-random distribution of the MATs (sexually compatible mycelia), that is, the mycorrhizae of a tree tend to belong to the same MAT.
Moreover, the mycelium that forms the mycorrhizae acts always as a maternal part.
In the enlargement it is observed how the truffles are formed, mostly, when a spore germinates and the mycelium acts as a paternal part fertilizing the maternal mycelium associated with a mycorrhiza of the complementary MAT.

We talked in an earlier post about how in some large multilobulated fruit bodies, each lobe belongs to a different paternal individual, that mostly comes from truffle spores.

Most truffles are formed sometime between May and July. It seems that at more latitude (colder areas), fertilization occurs later. But do we know how many baby truffles get formed per square meter? you´ll get surprised to know that a new research not published yet found, sieving the soil, that 104 truffle primordia were found per m2!

Unfortunately, most of these baby truffles get eaten by insects, dry up or get rotten before they mature properly.

This has been done by Pacioni, the same author who used the ground penetrating radars to screen the soil looking for baby truffles.

Cheers,

Marcos S. Morcillo

References:

Pacioni G et al. 2014 Instrumental monitoring of the birth and development of truffles in a Tuber melanosporum orchardMycorrhiza.

 

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a new book about truffles has been published


new book about truffles Le Tacon

 

Just finished to read this great new book about truffles, wrote by our friend:

François Le Tacon: Les truffes – Biologie, écologie et domestication

It must be difficult to try to compile 40 years of research on truffles, but he found a way to make a rigorous text while easy to read at the same time. He combines some of the latests papers published i.e. about how truffle feeds with the fundamentals and basic functioning of the mycorrhiza.

I enjoyed as en example, the “principle of the hydraulic elevator” that explains how transport of nocturnal water from the deep layers of the ground to the most superficial takes place thanks to the roots maintaining a good hydric state of the fungal structures.

It is completely updated on the sexual reproduction of the truffle, plus there is a chapter on the different stages of development of the fruit body with lovely microscope pictures of each one.

Half of the book is about truffle farming and devotes several pages to irrigation and control the water status of truffle plantations. A chapter about growing burgundy and sumer truffle, with figures about real yields per hectare from several plantations.

By now it is just edited in french, but probably there will be an english edition soon.

Congrats François! I learnt a lot!

Marcos S. Morcillo

 

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