Tifton Gazette

Local News

June 22, 2011

S. Ga. truffles? Scientists identify valuable new crop

TIFTON — There is a fungus spreading beneath the soil in Tift County. It lurks just beneath the surface of the ground spreading itself around the base of many different types of trees. This fungus presents itself in a small knobby form, dark in color, veined in appearance when broken open. It also has a pungent woody odor that is both unusual and lingering.

The good news is, this fungus has been identified as a naturally occurring truffle that grows in a tuber form from a fungus on the roots of trees. Many people are familiar with European truffles which are used in fine cuisine at a very high cost. These truffles are different than their European cousins, but just as valuable as an ingredient top chefs want for their kitchens.

They have come to be known as pecan truffles because they were first recognized in pecan orchards.  Aside from being a valuable commodity all on their own, they also help to make the pecan trees healthier so that the pecan crop is likely to increase when truffles are present. It’s a win- win situation.

We now know that farmers have long been aware of these knobby things they would rake up and throw away so that they did not get in the way while harvesting pecans.

They had no idea what they were, or what they were worth. A thousand dollars worth of European truffles can fit in your hands. Pecan truffles have been sold for $125 a pound, but the price is not a certain thing as yet because there has not been a consistent supply established to allow for a real market base.

Dr. Tim Brenneman, Plant Pathologist, UGA Tifton, has been instrumental in furthering the research on pecan truffles. “I get calls all the time asking where pecan truffles can be purchased. There’s already quite a demand for them, but not always a supply to fill that demand.”

Pecan truffles are an example of a type of farming gaining more and more focus from scientists revisiting ideas for making the most of each plot of land. It’s called agroforestry, and it means growing a crop in a managed stand of trees. In some cases turf grasses are grown between rows of trees where both the trees and the grass have been carefully chosen and planted to suit each other and allow for two products from one piece of land. “Pecan truffles are a perfect example of agroforestry,” says Dr. Gregory Bonito, Duke University. In the case of pecan truffles both products, the trees and the truffles, occur naturally. Pecan truffles have been identified at the base of a broad range of trees including walnuts, oaks, conifers and of course pecans. They can be found growing wild in the forests and occasionally even in people’s yards.

     “There’s already a crop of these truffles out there — it’s just not being harvested,” states Bonito. He recently made a breakthrough in scientific technology that uses molecular marking for quick identification of DNA samples from tree roots, revealing whether or not the trees have this beneficial fungus we call truffles, or if it has something less desirable. The ability to identify the truffle-producing fungus with a great level of certainty allows researchers to better determine exactly where the truffles are growing so that a range of information can be collected that will show scientists the best conditions for propagation of this tasty tuber.

     “The market hasn’t really taken off because there isn’t anybody dedicating themselves to it right now. There’s great potential. They can be quite easy to grow — relatively when compared to the European varieties,” says Dr. Charles Lefevre, president of New World Truffieres, a company specializing in truffle cultivation.

     Brenneman adds, “The next step is really to acquire truffle dogs trained to locate the truffles, and we need to use the molecular marking technology to survey a larger sample of orchards so that we can identify patterns that will tell us how to alter orchard management to encourage production.”

To learn more visit:

   Agroforestry information: http://www.unl.edu/nac/

   Dr. Tim Brenneman: http://www.pecantruffles.com

   Dr. Gregory Bonito: http://www.duke.edu/~gmb2/Teaching/index.html

   Dr. Charles Lefevre: http://www.truffletree.com/

1
Text Only
Local News
  • breast cancer_blue devils.tif Blue Devils host breast cancer awareness night, honor moms

    “You’re cured.” Two simple words that can bring immeasurable relief to someone who has been diagnosed with cancer.
    Five young Tift County Blue Devil baseball players have found that two other words can bring solace when a loved one is suffering from cancer.  Those words?  “Play ball.”

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • joannes.tif The ribbon is cut – Jo-Ann’s finally open

    Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores' Tifton location has officially opened, with more than 100 people coming out Thursday morning for the grand opening.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • donald boyd harris.tif Parents of infant found dead held on drug charges

    The parents of an infant who was found dead at their Mississippi home drove with their 2-year-old daughter to Georgia, where they were being held Thursday on felony drug warrants, officials in both states said.

    April 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • cotton app-smartphone.tif Cotton irrigation app helps farmers manage water usage

    A new smartphone app developed by University of Georgia and University of Florida researchers will help cotton farmers in their states save one of nature’s most precious resources —water.
    George Vellidis, a scientist with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and an expert in precision agriculture and water resources management, developed the app to help cotton growers irrigate their crops based on local conditions.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • TRMC computer system upgrade ‘monumental’

    On April 28, Tift Regional Health System will go live with a new computer system at Tift Regional Medical Center, the TRMC West Campus and Cook Medical Center, which hospital officials say in the long term will help improve efficiency and enhance patient care. There will be a period of transition which may slow work flow, and TRHS is asking for patience.

    April 23, 2014

  • IAAP 1.tif Leadership is key, no matter where you're going

    As part of Administrative Professionals Week, the Tiftarea Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals hosted an Administrative Professionals Day luncheon Wednesday at the Tift Regional Medical Center Community Event Center at the Tiftarea YMCA. The event was jointly sponsored by The Tifton Gazette.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Dewey Lee pic.tif Dewey Lee receives honor

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • relay for life.jpg Relay for Life this Friday in Tifton

    At Relay for Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much, according to Relay for Life.
    The public can get involved locally by attending the Relay for Life of Tift County, which kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at the E.B. Hamilton Complex and Optimist Park with the opening ceremony. A survivor reception will be held at 6 p.m. at the pavilion.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Senior community looks to expand

    The senior community West Haven Senior Village is looking to expand. Joseph Carter with West Haven, along with Mandy Young with Affordable Equity Partners, did a brief presentation on the senior village at a recent City Council meeting.

    April 22, 2014

  • disabled artists.tif Disabled artists exhibit begins May 1 at Georgia Museum of Agriculture

    Fifty works of art crafted by artisans with disabilities will be on display at the Gallery at the Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College beginning May 1.   Museum Assistant Director and Curator Polly Huff said the exhibit includes paintings, photographs, woodcarving, clay pottery, mosaics, textiles and other works.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Raw: Obama Tours Gyeongbok Palace Swimmer Michael Phelps Back in Competition Raw: Obama Lays Korean War Memorial Wreath Obama Leads Naturalization Ceremony in Seoul Calif. School Bus Crash Hurts Driver, 11 Kids Country Club for Exotic Cars Little Science Behind 'Pollen Vortex' Prediction US Proposes Pay-for-priority Internet Standards Wife Mourns Chicago Doctor Killed in Afghanistan FDA Proposes Regulations on E-cigarettes Kerry Warns Russia of Expensive New Sanctions Mideast Peace Talks Stall on Hamas Deal Cody Walker Remembers His Late Brother Paul Grieving South Korea Puts Up Yellow Ribbons Raw: Kerry Brings His Dog to Work Raw: Girls Survive Car Crash Into Their Bedroom Three U.S. Doctors Killed by Afghan Security Yankees' Pineda Suspended 10 Games for Pine Tar Colleagues Mourn Death of Doctors in Afghanistan Ukraine Launches Operation Against Insurgents
House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Seasonal Content
Business Marquee
Weather Radar
Video
SW Ga. Sacred Harp group at Folklife Festival in Tifton
Balloons released in Fitzgerald honoring fallen balloonist
Riding the Steam Train at Ga. Museum of Agriculture
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Do you plan to watch any of the Republican National Convention?

Yes
No
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results
Poll

Are you better off now than you were four years ago?

No
Yes
     View Results