Last week a story appeared in a Chinese newspaper on the first truffles grown in this country, although it is an interesting paper, the news is not entirely true, since truffles have been grown in China since a few years ago:
Wang Xianghua wrote in the book of Alessandra Zambonelli and Greg Bonito: Edible Ectomycorrhizal Mushrooms, Current Knowledge and Future Prospects. Ed Springer, about the advances in the cultivation of truffles in China, not only of native truffles, but also of Tuber melanosporum and Tuber aestivum. I make a brief summary of what is said there:
In 1987 in Taiwan were planted the first trees mycorrhized with Tuber formosanum (a truffle closely related to Tuber indicum), 8 years later the first cultivated truffle in China was harvested, that orchard produced 10kgs of truffles in 0.6 hectares.
In 2002 in the central region of Guizhou local oaks were planted (Quercus aliena and Q. glauca) mycorrhized with Tuber indicum, which came into production five years later.
It was not until 2008 when the first European black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) was harvested in a plantation in Guiyang, made by a private company.
There are now dozens of plantations, mainly in Yunnan and Sichuan, some as large as 130has, mostly are 4-7 years old. My company, Micologia Forestal & Aplicada, through Professor Liu, from Kunming University, has collaborated on some of these projects.
Virtually all of these plantations have been made with plant “made in China” and there are several nurseries, most of which belong to national forest or research centers. One of them, in Sichuan, produced over 100,000 truffle trees (with Chinese truffle, I think) in 2007, mainly Castanea mollissima, Pinus yunnanensis and Pinus armandii.
Hunan academy of Agriculture has also a nursery that produces 10,000 Tuber melanosporum mycorrhized trees annually.
As you can see in the picture, at least in truffle plantations, chinese are now using trained dogs, so the quality of their truffles will improve. probably in the mountains, as I saw in my last trip to Yunnan, they still harvest truffles just racking. But I imagine more than one should be getting nervous 🙂
All the best,
Marcos S. Morcillo