[Webinar] Shannon Berch: Truffle sex & what that means for orchard management & productivity.

[Webinar] Shannon Berch: Truffle sex & what that means for orchard management & productivity.

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[Webinar] Shannon Berch: Truffle sex & what that means for orchard management & productivity.

July 20, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

Recording of the webinar available here to NATGA members

In this presentation, I will review three scientific publications (see below) that are available for free download or on the NATGA web site under Resources, Papers. Although it is my goal to make the science reasonably accessible for non-scientists, I will be explaining biological and mycological phenomena and exploring hypothetical scenarios. The paper by Le Tacon et al. (2016) provides an explanation of what is known and still unknown about how truffle fungi reproduce. Since the end result of this reproduction is the truffle, it is important that truffle growers understand the basics. The paper by Garcia-Barreda et al. (2020) examines how soil and season affect truffle traits like weight and maturity, how the installation of ‘nests’ or ‘Spanish wells’ alters these responses, and how truffle traits and responses to nest installation differ in different soil types. Making sure there is genetic diversity in the truffle orchard through the application of spores (nests or Spanish wells) could be key to enhancing productivity but under what conditions? The paper by Iotti et al. (2016) explores how inoculation of seedlings in the nursery with mycelium rather than spores might permit the selection of truffle strains with superior characteristics. Only Tuber borchii at present lends itself to this kind of strain selection since it is much easier than most other Tuber species to grow in pure culture. At the end of my webinar, I hope that participants will have a better understanding of how truffles are produced and, using this understanding, be better able to evaluate possible future alterations to how truffles are cultivated.


Le Tacon et al. 2016. Certainties and uncertainties about the life cycle of the Périgord black truffle (Tuber melanosporum Vittad.). Annals of Forest Science 73: 105-117. 

Garcia-Barreda et al. 2020. Edaphic and temporal patterns of Tuber melanosporum fruitbody traits and effect of localized peat-based amendment. Scientific Reports 10, 4422. 

Iotti et al. 2016. First evidence for truffle production from plants inoculated with mycelial pure cultures. Mycorrhiza 26: 793-798.

Pamela Leonardi et al. 2019. Ascoma genotyping and mating type analyses of mycorrhizas and soil mycelia of Tuber borchii in a truffle orchard established by mycelial inoculated plants.  Environmental Microbiology, Wiley-Blackwell, 10.1111/1462-2920.14777.  hal-02352497

Recording of the webinar available here to NATGA members


Photo of Dr. Shannon Berch

Dr. Shannon Berch


Shannon Berch retired in 2019 from and is now an Emerita Research Scientist with the British Columbia Ministry of Environment; she is also an adjunct professor with the Faculty of Land and Food Systems and an associate member in Botany at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Bryce Kendrick kindled her interest in mycology during an undergraduate course he taught at the University of Waterloo.…


July 20, 2020
1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT
Event Category:




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