Within the framework of the INNOVATRUF project, the Center for Forest Science and Technology of Catalonia (CTFC) and the University of Lleida (UdL) have managed to produce black truffles outside their natural area and in a period of only five years in an experimental plantation located in the municipality of Maials, in the province of Lleida.
In a statement, the agencies explained that the experimental plantation, which was set up in the spring of 2015, has some 300 oaks mycorrhized with black truffle and summer truffle. Different devices and irrigation doses are tested, permanently monitored with the help of sensors to control the temperature and humidity.
"These first productions are a new milestone in the domestication of truffle cultivation and could entail the introduction of the crop in irrigated areas of the Lleida plain," said CTFC technician Daniel Oliach. He also highlighted that thanks to the agronomic techniques used they have achieved the first black truffle productions outside their natural area in just 5 years, "when this usually happens when the trees are 8 or 10 years old."
According to the entities, this step forward will help mitigate the impact of climate change on the fungus, which has seen its natural production threatened by higher temperatures and irregular rainfall.
The economic profitability of black truffle plantations exceeds 6,000 Euro per hectare per year once they reach their full potential. The price paid to the picker ranges between 300 and 600 Euro per kilo. "Taking into account its economic value, the UdL and the CTFC are making a big effort to promote and monitor its cultivation," says Bonet.