Edible Ectomycorrhizal Mushrooms

Volume 34 of the series Soil Biology pp 191-208


Truffle Cultivation in the Southern Hemisphere

  • Ian R. HallAffiliated withTruffles and Mushrooms (Consulting) Limited and Edible Forest Fungi New Zealand Limited Email author 
  • , Wayne HaslamAffiliated withAustralian Truffles Growers’ Association

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The cultivation of truffles in the Southern Hemisphere was conceived in New Zealand towards the end of the 1970s with practical research beginning in the mid-1980s. Within 2 years, methods had been developed for producing mycorrhized plants and establishing truffières both on soils with a naturally high pH and acidic soils to which large quantities of calcitic lime had been applied to raise the pH to the ideal. The first Tuber melanosporum truffles were found in 1993, and the first commercial harvest was made in 1997 on a truffière near Gisborne. The first commercial Tuber borchii truffles were harvested in April 2007 at West Melton near Christchurch, New Zealand.

The New Zealand developments attracted attention in Australia in the early 1990s, and the first truffles were harvested in Tasmania in 1999. This and 150 % tax write-offs stimulated the establishment of truffières throughout Australia which now has an industry at least 30 times the size of the New Zealand one. Chile established its first truffières in 2003 and produced its first T. melanosporum truffles in 2009. Financial assistance from the Chilean government has ensured the rapid expansion of truffières. Other Southern Hemisphere countries have also established truffières, but these have yet to produce. The issues surrounding the development of truffle farming in the Southern Hemisphere are fully discussed.