News ID: 203841
Published: 0530 GMT November 06, 2017

Black truffle grown in UK for first time

Black truffle grown in UK for first time

An expensive Mediterranean black truffle has been cultivated in the UK for the first time, the farthest north that the species has been found.

Researchers believe the truffle, mostly found in northern Spain, southern France and northern Italy, was able to grow in Wales due to climate change, reported.

It was grown in Monmouthshire as part of a project run by the truffle firm Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd (MSL) and was harvested in March 2017 by a trained dog named Bella.

The aromatic fungus was growing within the root system of a Mediterranean oak tree that was planted in 2008 and treated to encourage truffle production.

It had been inoculated with truffle spores, and the surrounding soil was made less acidic by treating it with lime.

Dr. Paul Thomas, of Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd and the University of Stirling with the black truffle.

Further microscopic and genetic analysis confirmed that Bella’s find was a Périgord black truffle (Tuber melanosporum).

Dr. Paul Thomas, of MSL and the University of Stirling, said: “This cultivation has shown that the climatic tolerance of truffles is much broader than previously thought, but it’s likely that it’s only possible because of climate change, and some areas of the UK — including the area around Cambridge — are now suitable for the cultivation of this species.”

The black truffle is one of the world’s most expensive ingredients, worth as much as £1,700 per kilogram, but its Mediterranean habitat has been affected by drought due to long-term climate change, and yields are falling while the global demand continues to rise.

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