Factors affecting Perigord truffle production in Australia

Black truffles are produced in truffieres in Australia since the 1990s. Unfortunately, truffle yield has not been particularly high with many truffieres failing to produce truffles after as many as 10 years.

This project aims at investigating the genetics of truffle strains used in Australia, in an attempt to identify a possible cause for low truffle yields in Australian truffieres. Low genetic diversity in truffles would limit their capability to form productive associations with a wide range of tree species and genotypes as well as with site interactions. The genetic diversity of Australian truffles will be compared to truffles in eg France (published data) to assess whether the Australian truffles are possibly suffering from a large genetic bottleneck impairing its ability to produce large truffle yields. Furthermore, uneven distribution of mating types of truffles will result in the truffle not being able to find a sexual partner to interact with and produce truffles.

Preliminary studies in Europe have shown an uneven distribution of mating types in inoculated trees, providing a most likely cause for failure of truffle production. This project aims at optimising truffle inoculation and growing techniques.