Truffles

truffles-industry

The Australian Truffle Growers Association represents the biosecurity interests of truffle producers and the industry.

Their responsibilities include:

  • biosecurity planning and implementation at the national and farm levels
  • liaising with federal and state governments on trade issues
  • funding and supporting biosecurity initiatives.

Industry overview

The Australian Truffle Growers Association represents over 120 truffle producer members across the truffle growing regions of Australia. There are at least another 100 growers not affiliated with the association.

Truffles are the edible fruiting bodies of Ascomycete fungi that associate with the roots of a number of plant species, particularly oak and hazelnut. This relationship is mutually beneficial, where truffle fungi form a sheath around plant host roots. The plant provides the truffle fungi with sugars in exchange for soil nutrients which are in forms unavailable to plants and the fungi act as an extended root system for the host tree.

There are several species of edible truffle, all of which are in the one genus (Tuber). The Italian white truffle (Tuber magnatum) receives the highest prices. In 2005, a 0.5 kg white truffle sold at auction for US$115,920 which was six times the price of gold at the time. However, this species has not yet been successfully domesticated. There are three species of truffle that are commonly cultivated around the world, the bianchetto or whitish truffle (T. borchii), Burgundy or summer truffle (T. aestivum) and the Périgord black truffle (T. melanosporum).

The Australian truffle industry is the largest in the southern hemisphere and began in Tasmania, with the first harvest of Périgord black truffles in 1999. This is still the most common species grown in combination with either oak or hazelnut trees. However, the Burgundy truffle and the bianchetto truffle are also farmed in Australia. Truffières have since been established in southern Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, southern Western Australia and eastern South Australia.

The largest Australian producer of truffles is in Manjimup, Western Australia, who in 2012 produced 2400 kg from 13,000 hazelnut and oak trees on 21 ha. In 2012 the total value of truffles exported from Western Australia and Tasmania was almost $1.5 million. In 2013 Australian growers produced approximately 8000 kg of truffles which was worth around $9.6 million. The number of growers has increased significantly in recent years with the number of hectares increasing from 250 in 2007 to almost 600 in 2012. Based on the number and ages of inoculated trees in 2012 the production of Australian truffles is expected to reach 10 t in 2016.

Truffle growing areas in Australia (Lee, 2008)

truffle-growing-regions

truffle-ibp-cover

Biosecurity Plan for the Truffle Industry

Biosecurity planning provides a mechanism for the almond industry, government and other relevant stakeholders to assess current biosecurity practices and future biosecurity needs. Planning identifies procedures that can be put in place to reduce the chance of pests reaching our borders or minimise the impact if a pest incursion occurs.

The Biosecurity Plan for the Truffle Industry outlines key threats to the industry, risk mitigation plans, identification and categorisation of exotic pests and contingency plans. For a copy, please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email admin@phau.com.au

Exotic pests (not in Australia)

The following is a list of high priority exotic pests of truffles. These pests were identified during the development of the Biosecurity Plan for the Truffle Industry in consultation with industry, government and scientists. They have been assessed as high priority pests based on their potential to enter, establish, and spread in Australia (eg environmental factors, host range, vectors) and the cost to industry of control measures.

PHA has a range of fact sheets, contingency plans and diagnostic protocols relevant to these pests. Pest risk review documents are also available for some pests. Please contact PHA on 02 6215 7700 or email admin@phau.com.au for more information.

Endorsed National Diagnostic Protocols are available from the National Plant Biosecurity Diagnostic Network webpage.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Bacterial canker Pseudomonas avellanae syn Pseudomonas syringae pv. avellanae
Brown-marmorated stink bug Halyomorpha halys FS
Eastern filbert blight Anisogramma anomala FS
Hazelnut rust Pucciniastrum coryli
Nun moth Lymantria monacha FS
Sudden oak death Phytophthora ramorum 1 FS FS CP DP

Other pests

The following is a list of documents for other exotic and endemic pests of the truffle industry. Please note that this is not a complete list of pests: rather it includes pests for which documents exist in the Pest Information Document Database.

Some of the documents presented here are not tailored to the truffle industry and are included for information only.

Common name Scientific name EPPRD Category Fact sheet Contingency plan Diagnostic protocol
Brown rot Monilinia fructigena 3 FS FS
Chestnut blight Cryphonectria parasitica 2 FS
European canker Neonectria ditissima FS
Green stink bug Chinavia hilaris (syn. Acrosternum hilare, Pentatoma hilaris, Chinavia hilare, Nezara hilaris) FS
Gypsy moths Lymantria dispar FS FS FS CP
Oblique-banded leaf roller Choristoneura rosaceana FS
Phytophthora blight Phytophthora kernoviae