19.1.11

Does Someone Know if the Truffle Mushrooms is Collected from Nepal? Let's Explore the Potentiality to Work Together

European Black Truffle - Photo Anonymous
Since almost last two weeks, I am wondering about the availability of peculiar and interesting type of mushrooms in Nepal that is called TRUFFLE. If I am not wrong, till date no one made report on this mushrooms from Nepal Himalaya. Three possible reasons for this could be:
  1. We have only fragmentary researches on mushrooms in comparison to higher plants,
  2. Till date no one made specific research on truffles,
  3. Local indigenous communities in remote parts of Nepal may be using this resources since long but no one made reports so far,
False Truffle from Mustang, Nepal- By Shiva Devkota
So the exploration and research on this aspect would be exemplary in mushrooms research history of Nepal. In 2007 while I was in mushrooms exploration programme, together with Mycologist Dr Morten Christensen from KVL Denmark, at that period we were encountered with truffle alike species in Kunjo, Mustang. But unfortunately that was not Truffel but a false truffel.


What are Truffles?

In a nutshell, truffles are mushrooms that grow underground. They are the fruit of a fungus that bonds with the root system of many kinds of trees, including oaks, poplars, birches, beeches, and hazelnuts. A symbiotic relationship occurs between the fungus and the tree root, with the root providing sugar to nourish the truffle, and the fungus aiding in the tree’s absorption of water and nutrients. Unlike above-ground mushrooms, truffles don’t grow stems and caps. And the spore-bearing part of the truffle is fully enclosed. So truffles are dependent on animals to help them propagate by bringing the spores above ground. Attracted by the strong scent of the truffles, small animals like squirrels and chipmunks eat the truffles, and then spread the spores in their droppings. 

Truffle is underground endomycorrhizal mushrooms and species comprises Tuber aestivum, T. albidum, T. brumale, T. excavatum, T. ferrugineum, T. magnatum, T. melanosporum, T. rufum and T. uncinatum and many more. White truffles (tuber magnatum) from northern Italy are the most highly-prized -- and most costly.   They can sell for as much as $3,000 to $4,000 per pound.   They grow wild in woods in certain areas and are usually found at the base of a few species of tree: oak, poplar, elm and some others. 

Switzerland and my Experience with Truffle


Switzerland through my Lens
Most of us never get to see a truffle. When we do experience the taste or the aroma, it is in the form of truffle oil, truffle paste or truffle butter. If we do see truffles, they tend to be of the preserved variety (canned or, more usually, bottled) and their flavour is so minimal that we wonder what the fuss is about. In last week of December 2009, while I was accompanied with friend Therese in the downtown Zurich, Switzerland she offered me lunch in the local restaurant. She asked, whether I would like to try some mushrooms disc or others. She knows my interest on mushrooms very much. In the menu we found some truffle recipes. I was wondered and excited to see truffles, but unluckily we were compelled to taste for truffle oil mixed with rice. Oh! rice was with great aroma.

How to collect? Collection Method is really Very Interesting

Truffle hunters in Italy and France use pigs and mixed-breed dogs to sniff out truffles. Dogs are preferred to pigs because pigs love to eat truffles. Notice the staff held by the truffle hunter in the picture with the pig. The hunter uses the staff to force the pig to back off, once the pig has located a truffle.

In Italy, truffle dogs are trained in several steps. First, the dog is taught to retrieve a rubber ball. Next, a small bit of smelly Gorgonzola cheese is substituted for the rubber ball. After the dog has learned to retrieve the cheese, the cheese is hidden, forcing the dog to sniff it out for a reward of food. Finally, a small truffle is substituted for the cheese. The dog is trained to fetch, then dig up the truffle.

Dogs like other food better than truffles, so bread and other treats are used for rewards. The night before a truffle hunt the dog is not fed so it will be eager to find truffles for the treat. Some dogs take the easy way out. They find and eat garbage buried by campers! Dogs generally do not find young truffles because the odor is too weak. The odor becomes stronger with age as the spores mature. In North America, truffle collectors use three major clues to find truffles. First, it must be warm and the soil moist. Truffles are often found 10 to 14 days after a heavy rain. The umbrella shaped mushrooms which pop up after a good rain can be used as a kind of clock. Look for truffles after these mushrooms have started to collapse.

Second, the right trees must be present. Truffles are formed by fungi that are partners with certain trees. You will not find truffles under maples, for instance, because maples do not form ectomycorrhizae. Trees to use as clues include: pines, firs, Douglas-fir, oaks, hazel nuts, hickories, birches, beeches, and eucalyptus.

Third, truffles use animals for spore dispersal. In North America, squirrels and chipmunks are the major wild animals dispersing truffle spores. Search among the right trees for pits dug by rodents in their own hunt for truffles. Pits do not guarantee success, however! Rodents also dig pits searching for acorns, onion bulbs, and beetle grubs.

My Personal Request

In this coming season, I am trying to explore the truffles in different parts of Nepal Himalaya. I would be really thankful if someone just recalled oh!!!!that species may be truffles with which we were encountered during our last field visit. This kind of information is really very very helpful and we can work together.

Please forward your suggestion and research ideas to shiva.devkota@gmail.com. I am anticipating  joint work and formulation of the research findings with both National and International Scientists and truffles lovers.

Thank you very much!

16 comments:

  1. Definately, the different thing to know.
    What is the false one then? Over Ground version?

    ReplyDelete
  2. first, thank u for sharing the concept of truflles exploration in nepal.

    it would have really exciting if these fungus inhabit in the land of Nepal.

    anyway interesting and appreciable..

    khum thapamagar

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  3. Claudia, Presently at NepalJanuary 23, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    Superb! Wish You Best Mr Devkota - Young and Leading mushrooms expert in Himalayas...I will buy a kilogram paying US$1000..Let me know

    ReplyDelete
  4. Waoo! Truffles from Himalayas.CRAZY
    Dear Shiva Dev, how did you think about this strange thing?
    Wish your team all the best!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Glad to see the fruits of connecting you with Kajetan!
    Right thing to do, get the word out, get the truffles out of the underground.
    Alas, establishing the presence of precious edible truffles and then turning that into an industry will be a long term project, but I really hope for the best.
    I better subscribe to your blog.
    Daniel
    www.Mushroaming.com
    PS: Most truffle are ectmycorrhizal, only a few are endomycorrhizal.

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  6. Hi Shiva ..just wondering what would you call Truffles in Nepalese??


    regards,
    Udaya

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  7. Dear all,
    Thank you very much for your suggestions, ideas and regards.
    We tried to collect Truffels from different parts of Nepal, but unforunately we didnt get that. But, we have found some plances of interest for further research and extensive field works.
    Best
    Shiva Devkota

    ReplyDelete
  8. hey
    i just come to know much more about truffle
    i am the one who have seen and eaten it in nepal.
    i feel really strange knowing this now
    it is not like the western and european truffle which we can get under a tree. the one which i have eaten were under the ground.
    i know its the family of truffle.

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  9. end of the day, it's all about money. Good luck!

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  10. hi iam bivek sapkota.truffles can also be found in china but they are very common there and is of bad quality.they are sold mixed with the italian truffle to fool the buyers and making greater sum of money.i fear the truffle which would be found in nepal are of that kind. lets hope not.and best of luck for your expedition.

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  11. hi i am bivek sapkota.truffles are also found in china but are of worse quality and are very common there, they are feed to pigs.frauds sell them mixing with the italian truffles to make better sum of money.lets hope the truffle that would be found in nepal is of greater quality and not like that in china.and i also hope for best for your expedition.

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  12. I really like the taste of it. It just become one of my favorite shrooms out there.

    magic mushroom kits

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  13. I don't know if we have indigenous truffle or not. But I am confident that Nepal can be a good place for commercial truffle plantation. Within less than 100 km stretch, you can expereince +40 degree to -40 degree. This suggests me that there are suitable place for its plantation. Truffle needs right environmental conditions and right Ph level. For you kind information, Aussies are making millions by selling Black truffle (French) grown in Australia. Researchers in Australia have claimed that have developed the secret soil system fromula for commercial plantation.

    Buzz me if anybody is interested in commercial plantation in Nepal. thapasantosh@hotmail.com

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  14. Find more info about truffles in Nepal here...http://www.neohorizontravels.com/blog/truffles-in-the-himalaya.html

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  15. Contact me at 00975-17555557 for cordyceps from bhutan

    ReplyDelete