Τhe last 15 years, mushrooms became valuable part of Greek consumers’ diet. New mushroom plants have launched, special cultivated varieties ( Lentinula, Hericium, etc.) have been considerably growing and many young peoplemake a living hunting truffles and wild mushrooms . Αfter the economic crisis of 2009, people living in big cities returned to their villages starting business in forestry or agriculture. “Dirfis mushrooms” was established in 2003 in Mount Dirfis (Euboea) by two agronomists-mycologists (Agricultural University of Athens), Lefteris Lachouvaris and Thanassis Mastrogiannis, representing a success story of the hidden potential of the mushroom and truffles related activities.
Nectariss aims to create the ultimate truffle flavour from real truffles, addressing three main problems of truffle products:
- the lack of authenticity of existing truffle aromas that are mainly prepared either synthetically or from seafood and vegetables;
- the poor diversity of existing commercial truffle flavours (only few compared to hundreds of truffle sorts);
- the lack of geographical traceability in truffle products and the consequent consumers' misconceptions that truffles exclusively come from few regions (i.e. Alba, Périgord), when they are really valuable resources of most Mediterranean countries.
City of Alba (Piedmont region, Italy) and the surrounding area, the Langhe and Roero are well known for wine production and some local gastronomic peculiarities, such as white truffle. Unfortunately, over the past 25 years, against a continuing increase in the value of farming products (grapes for wine and hazelnut for chocolate and sweet) and a consequent expansion of cultivated surface, there has been a 30% reduction in truffle-growing areas. “Save the Truffle” aims to promote alternative activities for recovering old truffle-beds and planting new truffle-generating plants.
In 2005, Kanela & Garyfallo was founded in the village of Vitsa, in the mountainous region of Zagori in NW Greece, as a thematic restaurant specializing in edible mushrooms. Considering that Greece is a country where mushrooms are considered largely unsafe and / or unsavory, this was a bold move. The objective difficulties in turning this bold move to a success story were acknowledged from the start and the proprietor set out as his objective to educate the public and rely on the positive personal experience of his clients to overcome prejudice and recognize the value of an important local resource.
Truffle hunting in Istria began in the mid 20th century when the first written records were recorded about it. Initially, the local population started collecting truffles as it was actually a great addition to their home budget. At this time, the final destination of the truffles were mainly the foreign markets. More recently, the truffle hunters realized that the value can be increased if the product was placed on the domestic market. Thus, in the 1990s, truffle promotion was promoted as a valued product and they quickly realized that diversification of the offer was needed and that additional product value was needed.
The BIJOU project objectives are the following ones :
- Development of molecular tools to identify the origin of truffles, the stage of maturity, in correlation with the organoleptic qualities of Burgundy truffle.
- Development of evaluation and production improvement tools in truffle orchards.
- Study of the ecology of the Burgundy truffle in natural environments, and the influence of forest management on it.
The third component of the project is only developed in this factsheet.The objective is to better understand which natural environments favour Burgundy truffle, to improve truffle stations knowledge and forest stands typology, and finally to quantify the production of the studied stands.
CULTURTRUF project : Effect of cultural techniques on water balance in truffle orchards and truffle life cycle
CulturTruf was financed by FranceAgriMer (French Agriculture Ministry) from 2016 to 2019. The objective of this project is to understand how water balance, truffle production, and soil truffle DNA evolve in different orchards of T. melanosporum, T. aestivum, T. aestivum var. uncinatum according to technical itineraries adapted to different climates. The aim is to optimize water management in truffle plantations by coupling basic and applied research approaches. In this sense, this project fully responds to a strong demand from the sector to adapt truffle production to climate change.
Greece is a country with dramatic geological relief which makes it one of the richest in biodiversity and habitat types countries in Europe. So far over 100 fungal species with below ground fruitbodies have been discovered in Greece, among them 13 new species for Science, confirming high diversity also in fungi. As we have just began to explore fungi with subterranean fruiting bodies, we are confident that many new species will be recorded in Greece in the near future. The protection of forest ecosystems is vital for hypogeous fungi, such as valuable truffles' conservation.
Enhancement of Croatian forest ecosystem services through assessment of fungal diversity based on DNA barcoding with special emphasis to Tuber eastivum (summer truffle)
Enhancement of Croatian forest ecosystem services through assessment of fungal diversity based on DNA barcoding is a four-year project financed by the Croatian Science Foundation with the objective of exploring fungal diversity of Croatian forests through the DNA barcoding methods, aimed to analyze its impact on forest ecosystem services. Research institute ‘Ruđer Bošković’ from Zagreb, Croatia is the lead partner on this project that started in October, 2018.
The European Union defines, through several documents, the cultivation and collection of mushrooms and truffles as the primary product in agriculture. There are a number of measures in place in Croatia to encourage primary agricultural production, but truffle farming is not one of them. In order to offer the rural parts of Croatia new economic activity, which can be extremely profitable, it is necessary to draw up a plan for the implementation of the European Directive and to adapt the relevant laws on the basis of professional and scientific research.
The success of a truffle plantation relies on the presence and abundance of T. melanosporum in the roots of the seedlings the farmers plant to obtain the crop of truffles. Yet, most farmers lack the skills to distinguish a plant with the fungus from one without it. Therefore, independent testing of the plants to be planted is critical to protect the farmers from errors or fraud in the nurseries leading to the sale of plants that will never produce truffles. Our aim was to develop a test that a trained technician could perform in a short period of time to keep the cost low.
In the last 15 years, there has been a strong interest in truffles in Greece due to high market prices and the ability to cultivate them. In most truffle plantations in Greece, however, the seedlings come from European countries such as Italy, France and Spain, since there is no domestic production. Taking into consideration the issues of imported plant’s adaptability, biodiversity protection and the risk of introducing unwdesired truffle species, we attempted to create the first Greek truffle trees with Tuber aestivum and T. melanosporum in Greek forest species such as oaks, hazelnuts, etc., in the region of Epirus (NW Greece).
Hypogeous fungi research in wider area of National Park ‘Krka’, Croatia – potential for development of mycotourism
The objectives of the Krka National Park hypogeous fungi research project are: (1) To determine the diversity of hypogeous macro-fungi in forest ecosystems of the Krka National Park, (2) To identify collected hypogeous fungi samples to species level by morphological and molecular methods, (3) To determine relationships between fungi, plants, soil, geological background, climatic and other significant ecological factors in the studied habitat, (4) Develop material for an educational trail, (5) Develop materials for holding thematic workshops on fungi in the Krka National Park.
The environmental factors that play a role in the fructification of black truffle are well known. In particular, low water availability during summer period inhibits fruiting. These elements result from observations and tests under controlled conditions. At the time of the study (late 1970s), there was no field trial to determine experimentally the influence of environmental factors in cultivated truffle conditions. A trial on a truffle farm located in south-eastern France was therefore set up in 1979 to clarify the influence of soil fertility and moisture levels on Black truffle fructification.
Mapping the potential for truffle production in a natural environment. Development of a method suited to the private forests of the Mont Ventoux (France)
The aim is to map the potentiality of the black truffle production based on the current scientific knowledge already available. To do this, a truffle potential level is assigned to each point of the territory covered with forests. This must eventually allow managers to determine the level of investment in rehabilitating formerly truffle land based on expected potential production.
MERCASETAS and MERCATRUFAS are fundamentally tools for the promotion and commercialization of the mycological resource and an opportunity to approach and encourage the consumption of these products among the attending public.
MERCATRUFAS is a market for Black Truffles (Tuber melanosporum) with a mycological character, being the meeting point between the truffle grower and the final consumer, who is guaranteed about the origin and quality of all the truffles with strict quality controls.
MERCASETAS is a new concept of market of mycological products, mainly oriented to the tourism whose objective is to dynamize the commercial activity of the sector, guaranteeing the origin, the traceability and the quality of the product, promoting the agro-alimentary innovation, improving the environmental and gastronomic education of the consumer.
The main objective of this application is to provide companies in the mycological sector with a traceability management tool for the purchase of wild mushrooms and fresh truffles from the collector or producer. To identify one more agent in the traceability of the product, by including the collector of wild mushrooms and the space where they have been collected, favoring the control systems in food safety.
This study is aimed at accelerating the onset of truffle production by avoiding weed competition around the recently planted Tuber melanosporum inoculated seedlings. By doing so reducing the labor costs, avoiding compacting the soil or loosing the organic certification of the truffle orchard.
Describe the main contents of the recent Italian fiscal law on NWFPs, approved at the end of 2018. This fiscal reform aimed to simplify the fiscal system of NWFPs pickers, in order to contrast the diffusion of the informal market, contributing to increase the transparency and support the traceability of some specific value chains.
With the fluctuation of truffle market, the prices of truffles for restaurants and/or for end consumers can be very variable. This implies the use of less expensive truffle based additions, such as truffle oils and tartufatas (mixture or mushrooms and truffle, used as side dishes, or as a main ingredient for truffle based pates and sauces). Since the odor of fresh truffles are volatile and more mild than their replacements (truffle oils), the objective of this text is to educate the end consumer on differences between the raw truffle material and processed ingredients found in grocery stores.
PragueTruffle aims to diversify the tourism offer in Prague, which represents one of the most famous tourist destinations around the world. The initiative provides a truffle (species: Tuber aestivum) hunting demonstration (with a dog) in the Petřín Park, that offers one of the best views of Old Town Prague. In addition to this experience, PragueTruffle customers receive contextual information about truffles as well as about Prague history, followed by a truffle dish in a luxury restaurant with a gorgeous view of Prague. At the end, the clients can take a fresh truffle as a gift.
Research on hypogeous fungi is a project carried out by the Croatian Forest Research Institute in cooperation with the County of Varaždin and the Bank of Zagreb on the territory of Varaždin County, Croatia. The project aims to (1) Identify the diversity of hypogeous macrofungi in different ecosystems in the Varazdin County area, (2) Identify collected mushroom samples to species level by morphological and / or molecular methods whenever possible, (3) Identify habitat characteristics and plant communities in the research area.
Croatia is a world famous destination for its truffle collection in wild and the truffle sector is well developed. However, although Croatia is a small country, truffle production is in fact concentrated only in the Istrian region and has not been developed in the rest of the country. In other parts of the country, very few people are involved in collecting truffles (summer truffles) and this is actually more of a hobby for them than a source of income. Therefore, it was important to conduct a survey to determine where summer truffle could be found and in what quantities, and the results of the survey would give us a clearer picture of the possibility of developing the truffle sector in other parts of the country.
Tuber melanosporum, the fungus that produces the priced Black Truffle, is adapted to Mediterranean droughts. Usually the production of truffles increases in years with higher precipitation. This hinted early farmers into watering the orchards to obtain better crops, but, what happens if we water too much? One of the reasons we do not find truffles in forests with abundant rains could be that in wetter conditions other fungi can outcompete T. melanosporum and displace it from the roots of the trees causing the disappearance of the fungus and the end to truffle production.
Trufforum® is an international event created by the The "European Mycological Institute" (EGTC-EMI) with the aim of promoting the responsible use of the Tuber melanosporum in homes and restaurants to educate consumers on:
a) Origins of the black truffle in Europe
b) Species of edible truffles
c) The organoleptic differences between black truffles and synthetic aromas.
d) The importance of quality control to avoid fraud.
e) The most appropriate modes of use in gastronomy
f) Tourism in the European truffle territories
In Italy, the collection of truffles is considered a professional activity mainly for “males”. The “Lady Truffle” initiative, founded by Elisa Ioni, sales manager of a renowned Umbrian truffle company, aims to unhinge this tradition, promoting the hobby of truffle hunting among women, and, in some cases, supporting the transformation of this hobby in a real profession.