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DNA analyses confirm new truffle in New Zealand

3 August 2006

DNA analyses confirm new truffle in New Zealand

DNA analyses have confirmed that a bianchetto truffle (Tuber borchii) has indeed been grown as part of a trial plot at Crop & Food Research’s Lincoln facility.

Last month the truffle industry was delighted to hear from Crop & Food Research that a trial plot had probably produced the first bianchetto truffle grown in the Southern Hemisphere. The truffle had been found under a three-year-old Pinus pinea tree.

“One of our scientists, Professor Yun Wang, was able to inspect the truffle and conclude under the microscope that it was a bianchetto, but we needed the DNA analyses to be 100 per cent sure,” edible fungi leader Alexis Guerin said.He said researchers were delighted with the find because one of the aims of the research was to combine forestry and truffles. “Farmers are able to produce timber and truffles from a single plot of earth,” Dr Guerin said. “It is all about adding value.”

Crop & Food Research’s senior business manager Graham Smellie says the find has been welcomed by New Zealand’s truffle industry.

“Small existing bianchetto truffières are scattered throughout NZ, from the North Island’s east coast to the lower South Island. This is an indication of the versatility of the borchii species,” Mr Smellie said. “There has been a huge demand for borchii infected trees.”


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