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Characterization of natural habitats and diversity of Libyan desert truffles

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Abstract

Desert truffles have traditionally been used as food in Libya. Desert truffle grows and gives fruit sporadically when adequate and properly distributed rainfall occurs with existence of suitable soil and mycorrhizal host plant. The present study aimed to identify and characterize two kinds of wild desert truffles from ecological and nutritional points that were collected from the studied area. The truffle samples were identified as Terfezia (known as red or black truffle) and Tirmania (known as white truffle). The nutritional values (protein, lipid and carbohydrate) of both Libyan wild truffle (Terfezia and Tirmania) were determined on a dry weight basis and result showed that Tirmania and Terfezia contained 16.3 and 18.5% protein, 6.2 and 5.9% lipid, 67.2 and 65% carbohydrate, respectively, in ascocarp biomass. The soil pH of the upper and lower regions of the Hamada Al-Hamra ranged between 8.2 and 8.5 giving suitable conditions for fructification. The plants, Helianthemum kahiricum and Helianthemum lippii were the dominant plants in Hamada Al-Hamra region found to form a mycorrhiza with desert truffles. The phylogenetic analysis of the genomic rDNA ITS region showed that, out of five collections three represented Tirmania pinoyi (Maire) Malencon, one Tirmania nivea (Desf.) Trappe, and one Terfezia boudieri Chatin.

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Acknowledgements

This study was financially supported by Biotechnology Research Center, Toucha, Libya and by the Regional Council of Southern Savo, Finland. Molecular analyses were co-financed through the Research program Forest Biology, Ecology and Technology P4-0107 (Slovenian Forestry Institute). We are grateful to Dr. Mohamed Nuri, Department of Botany, Faculty of Science, Tripoli University, Libya for the help with identification of the Helianthemum spp., and to Cene Gostinčar (University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty) for fruitful discussion and help on the phylogenetic approaches.

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Correspondence to Dattatray Bedade.

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Bouzadi, M., Grebenc, T., Turunen, O. et al. Characterization of natural habitats and diversity of Libyan desert truffles. 3 Biotech 7, 328 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13205-017-0949-5

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