WEEDS and PESTS – Love ‘em or Leave ‘em – TRAPI

Managing weeds can be a challenge in truffle orchards while insects and other invertebrate pests are a significant threat to truffle quality and yields. Weeds in many orchard systems are effectively controlled at low cost using herbicides, but there are potential risks that residues will affect truffle quality and quality, so many growers prefer non-chemical practices. Some non-chemical approaches include cover crops, mulching, mowing, cultivation and biocontrol. Invertebrate pests can enter and consume truffles leaving unappealing damage that lowers market value. Threats come from native fungivores and there is a looming threat that European pests will eventually impact truffle crops. Host trees are also susceptible to insect damage with the potential to decrease yields or cause tree mortality. This TRAPI webinar will consider managing weed and insect pests…

Optimal conditions for truffles: Using irrigation to expand the range – TRAPI

Successful production of truffles requires critical information on optimal soil and climate conditions.  These conditions dictate where truffles should be introduced, and the amendments needed to assure adequate yields. In this TRAPI webinar we discuss the optimal conditions for both European truffles and native North American truffles.  Irrigation is a critical amendment to achieve optimal soil moisture and to extend yield potential into arid environments.  We review what little is known about moisture requirements and discuss well-tested methods used to schedule irrigation to achieve target moisture conditions.

Cooking with Truffles, Made Easy with Susi Séguret

Are you swimming in truffles (as we all aspire to be!) and don’t know what to do with the bounty? Or are you experimenting with your first truffle in the kitchen and don’t know where to start? Or have you had one too many truffle dishes at a fancy restaurant, but still haven’t hit that pleasure spot?

This seminar is for you. In an hour of interactive and entertaining back-and-forths, Susi Gott Séguret will talk about how to put your truffle immediately to work for you, some simple do’s and don’ts to get the most out of your prize, seasonal ingredient pairings, matching flavor profiles, and what wines you might throw into the mix with the truffle species you have in your pantry.

For those who are extra adventurous, some simple hands-on recipes will be demonstrated, and you are invited to cook along or sit back with a glass in hand and drool.

Trees and Truffles – Partners in Grime – TRAPI

This talk focus on optimal tree host nutrition for truffle production. I cover the basics of tree nutrition and soil nutrient availability, highlighting special nutritional characteristics of trees. Target ranges of foliar nutrients for truffle production and the challenge of optimizing tree nutrition in basic soils is discussed. I will review methods of foliar nutrient analysis and suggest avenues for future research.

Having the right tools is half the battle – TRAPI

Webinar Recorded 10/17/2022. This is NATGA’s first webinar under the TRAPI umbrella. We highlight the current tools and technologies using DNA to characterize fungal species and populations present in truffle orchards. The team discussed what these genetic tools are and what they can tell us, how these insights might be applied to management, and how current and emerging genetic technologies may help us to provide better information on the living communities present in your orchard.

A Study of Truffle Mycorrhiza Ecology with Dr. Rytas Vilgaly

Webinar recorded September 19 2022. On a cold morning in February 2022 the Microbial Ecology and Evolution class (Bio557L) from Duke University visited Burwell Farms in north central North Carolina. The class was led by Dr. Rytas Vilgalys, Dr. Jake Nash and Dr. Corbin Bryan. Burwell Farms invited the class to conduct research on the effects of high pH and other orchard management practices on Tuber borchii and native fungi and bacteria. Burwell Farms has earned fame for having successfully cultivating T. borchii with loblolly pine and is currently the USA’s most productive truffle orchard (Smithsonian Magazine June 2021). The students learned best truffle cultivation practices and how two dogs, Elora and Laddie, work to find truffles. As part of the class project, students collected fresh soil and root samples from within and outside the truffle orchard. Then students performed a series of forest microbiome analyses using both Sanger and nextgen sequencing (ITS gene for fungi, 16S gene for bacteria). In this webinar, Dr. Vilgalys will present their findings which compare the fungal and bacterial communities associated with managed and natural pine forest microbiomes.

Unearthing the Appalachian…or, Can I Lick Your Bottom, canaliculatum. (An important mnemonic device) by Ben Kable

Webinar recorded July 18 2022

As the twinkling of the last star fades
The morning mists arise
The secrets of the forest lie
Beneath their earthly guise

The mossy duff exudes
An ancient aromatic lure
Of reproductive readiness
Irresistible and pure

A bouquet of love, and want and spice
Rivulets arise
Invisible on morning air Belie
A subterranean surprise

The damp silence, split by echoes
The jingle of a dog
The gravel crunches underfoot
In the eastern mountain fog

The huffing puffing quadruped
Detects the ancient scent
His head snaps to, he drops his nose
To find the hunts intent

He circles against the gradient
Of biochemical diffusion
A miracle of mammalian
Olfactory evolution

A cool dawn breeze amongst the trees
The leaves, the spruce duff rustle
A frantic paw pulls back the moss –
The Appalachian truffle

Basic experimental concepts for testing management options in truffle orchards with Mark Coleman and Shannon Berch

Truffle growers have a lot of ideas and information available on management practices necessary to produce truffles. Sometimes ideas conflict, it is not clear what level of a treatment is most effective, or you have an off-the-wall idea to try. We can test our ideas and decide which practices work best using basic experimental methods. This webinar reviews those methods and encourages the sharing of results to help us all learn. The discussion will include how to use controlled experiments to test approaches or ideas, i.e., your hypothesis, and consider different types of variables, experimental subjects, replication, controls, and how to decide if observed responses are meaningful. We will also consider some essentials that make it easy to document the justification, approach, and results of your test. Beyond these basic requirements, understanding basic experimental practices is essential to successfully host meaningful research conducted by truffle scientists.