Accidental cultivation of the European truffle Tuber brumale in North American truffle orchards

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Abstract

Tuber brumale is a European edible truffle species that is often viewed as a contaminant in truffle orchards, as it visually resembles more valuable black truffles such as T. melanosporum, but differs in aroma and flavor and sells for a much lower price. Although T. brumale is not native to or intentionally cultivated in North America, it was reported to have been accidently introduced into British Columbia in 2014 and North Carolina in 2020. However, in winter of 2021, various truffle orchards in eastern North America produced truffles that differed from the anticipated harvest of T. melanosporum. Molecular analysis of these specimens confirmed T. brumale truffle fruiting bodies from ten orchards distributed across six eastern USA states. Phylogenetic analysis of nuclear ribosomal ITS and 28S DNA sequences indicated that all samples belong to the T. brumale A1 haplogroup, the genetic subgroup of T. brumale that is more common in western Europe. This pattern of widespread fruiting of T. brumale in North American truffle orchards is likely the result of T. brumale being introduced in the initial inoculation of trees used as hosts in T. melanosporum truffle cultivation. We review other examples of introduced non-target truffle species and strategies for limiting their impact on truffle cultivation.

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Lemmond, B., Sow, A., Bonito, G., & Smith, M. E. (2023). Accidental cultivation of the European truffle Tuber brumale in North American truffle orchards. Mycorrhiza, 33(4), 221–228. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00572-023-01114-8

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