After 20 years of research, the white truffle (Tuber magnatum) has been grown on a large scale in France

We have long known how to make vegetable seeds in laboratories. For example, scientists have designed new types of tomatoes or flowers. But one variety has always resisted production in the laboratory: the white truffle.

This mushroom, which is sold at a high price, has made it difficult for researchers … After 20 years of research, a laboratory in Gap (05) has finally managed to grow white truffles from a laboratory. We didn’t know much about this white truffle, only that it liked to grow at the base of certain oaks! Discovery.

For this research, Claire Cotton and Pierre Cammalletti of Robin Nurseries worked with the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (Inrae). So after 20 years of research, the white truffle could be grown in France! Until this discovery, it was only found in the wild in Italy.

To achieve this scientific achievement, a process of mycorrhization of oak roots was introduced. Mycorrhization is a symbiotic association between the tree and the fungus.

Eureka the truffles have sprouted!

And on February 16, the research seems to have borne fruit: a first harvest of white truffles was carried out in southwest France. Remember that the white truffle did not grow naturally in this region.

A kilo of white truffles can be sold for up to 5,000 euros per kilo … That is five times more expensive than black truffles! If you can manage to make it in the lab and grow it on other soils, the price could go down!

A first harvest of white truffles was carried out in south-west France (photo illustration). Photo credit: Shutterstock / Filippo Bellantoni

Bruno Robin, co-manager of the family kindergartens with his sister Christine, explains that white truffles require quality soil, a mild climate and close monitoring. If there are a hundred plants waiting to be planted today, Bruno Robin hopes to sell up to 2,500 this year. This truffle, collected in Eastern Europe, but also in Italy, has “very specific soil and climatic conditions (…). The truffle grower who wants to cultivate Tuber magnatum has to comply with a certain number of conditions: soil quality, climate, irrigation, pruning … ”explains Bruno Robin.

What about the truffle farmers?

Some truffle professionals are sticking to the Magnatum project and experimented ten years ago. But no outlier, the truffle, whether white or black, keeps part of the secret. We know why it doesn’t grow in some places, but we still don’t know why it grows in others!

However, the truffle growers agree that if the process worked, they could increase their income significantly … As pioneers of this process, they could quickly reap the fruits of their attempts … And even if the price fell due to the higher production, the white truffle is such a delicacy don’t worry!

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