Truffle Cultivation

The first attempts of cultivating truffles occur back in 1790-1810. J. Tulon and P. Mauleon (France) were the first to notice the “symbiosis” of oak trees and black truffles combined with the elements of the rocky soil of souther and western France and proceeded on experimenting on how these conditions could be reproductive.  By the end of the 19th century France claims hundreds of tonnes of annual truffle production.

The scientific name Tuber Melanosporum is given to the the Périgord Truffle by Italian mycologist Carlo Vittadini in 1831. During the 20th century Spain and Italy also show high development in cultivating winter truffles competing with France over a range of 10-100 tonnes/year since the 1950’s up to now. This is particularly visible in the Teruel province of the Aragon region where the black truffle represents the first and main economic activity (in GDP and employment). Central Italy (regions of Umbria, Marche, Toscany, Abruzzo, Lazio) also claims high production of t. Melanosporum. By now truffle-growing areas exist in the UK, the USA, Sweden, Greece, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia, New Zealand, Australia, Chile  and South Africa. 

Modern truffle cultivation consists of the combination between soil characteristics, adoptable inoculated host plants, environmental and geomorphological conditions of the area as well as methods and techniques applied before and during the installation of a truffle plantation. In the recent years molecular techniques and scientific studies in various sectors are allowing a great progress in understanding the truffle biology and in applying it over the empirical methods widely used in the truffle cultivation.