Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Health

To Satisfy Lust for Truffles, The French Will Try to Clone Them

DiscoblogBy Nina BaiDecember 6, 2008 3:24 AM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

truffle.jpg

As truffle season kicks into gear, the French are taking drastic measures to save their highly-prized black truffle, which sells for more than a $1000 a kilo. Apparently, 40 to 50 tons per year (the current output) of the pungent, lumpy fungus with reported aphrodisiac powers isn't enough to satiate the bon vivants. A hundred years ago, the country was producing 1,000 tons per year of truffle, but global warming and the decline of farming have made the delicacy harder to find. Truffles are tricky to grow. They require a symbiotic relationship with specific types of trees. The Black Périgord Truffle, known as the "black diamond," grows exclusively on the roots of oak trees. Now, as a last ditch effort to save the truffle industry, French scientists are turning to cloning. The Financial Times reports:

Their goal is to unlock the secrets of black truffle production - the soil, climate or the trees - and hopefully revive an endangered industry by producing a more consistent crop. The project will involve culturing cloned truffles together with tree saplings in rows of sterile test tubes until they form their crucial symbiotic relationship, a process that can take up to a year. Once the pair is established they will be planted out to mature naturally.

No one's knows whether cloned truffles will taste like wild-growing ones—although, if these test-tube truffles do take, truffle dogs and truffle hogs would be out of business. Related Content: DISCOVER: The Biology of ...Truffles

Image: flickr / foodistablog

2 Free Articles Left

Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

Want unlimited access?

Subscribe today and save 70%

Subscribe

Already a subscriber? Register or Log In