Types of truffles

The Main Characteristics of the Truffle

Truffles are organisms that are classified in the "mushroom kingdom."
Fungi lack chlorophyll and cannot synthesize organic substances such as sugar, starch and cellulose since they cannot carry out the process of chlorophyll photosynthesis.

Therefore, they are called heterotrophic since they need other animal or plant organisms such as plants in the case of truffles to assimilate these substances.
Plants, on the other hand, are autotrophic organisms, that is, capable of producing all nutrients. Fungi are divided into three groups:
  • Parasites: assimilate organic substances from living animal or plant organisms
  • Saprophytes: assimilate organic substances from dead or already decaying animal or plant organisms
  • Symbionts: coexisting with living organisms exchanging nutrients and benefiting both

Belonging to the latter group are truffles, which establish symbiosis with forest plants at the root level through mycorrhizae are thus the union point of exchange between the fungus and the plant and can be of three types: Endomycorrhizae, Ectoendomycorrhizae and Ectomycorrhizae as in the case of truffles where the hyphae of the fungus penetrate between root cells.

Truffle mycorrhizae form after some carpophores rot and decay in the soil or are eaten by animals, which in turn contribute to the dissemination of spores in the environment. Once the spores come in contact with the roots of a symbiont plant they germinate and give rise to a mycelium capable of contracting symbiosis at the root level with the latter.

Spores are found in great numbers within the truffle and more specifically in the gleba, enclosed within asci and hence called ascospores, in fact the truffle is a tuberaceous plant belonging to the class of ascomycetes. The spores are also a key element in recognizing the various species of Tuber, as they differ from each other within the asci in color, shape and size.

The entire cycle of the truffle takes place entirely underground and is therefore a hypogeous fungus unlike other fungi that fruit above ground referred to as epigeous such as the cep (Boletus Edulis). The fungus once the symbiosis is established needs a whole range of factors to fructify, ranging from the age of the plant to soil and climatic conditions.

Ciclo biologico del tartufo

Commercial truffle species

Fine white truffle

(Tuber magnatum pico.)

Prized Black Truffle

(Tuber Melanosporum Vitt.)
Symbiont plants:
  • Leccio (quercus ilex L.)
  • Cerro (quercus cerris L.)
  • Carpino nero (ostrya carpinifolia scop.)
  • Roverella (quercus pubescens Wild.)
  • Nocciolo (corylus avellana L.)

Scorzone Truffle

(Tuber Aestivum Vitt.)
Symbiont plants:
  • Leccio (quercus ilex L.)
  • Cerro (quercus cerris L.)
  • Carpino nero (ostrya carpinifolia scop.)
  • Roverella (quercus pubescens Wild.)
  • Nocciolo (corylus avellana L.)

Bianchetto or Marzuolo truffle

(Tuber Borchii. Vitt. / Tuber Albidum Pico.)
Symbiont plants:
  • Leccio (quercus ilex L.)
  • Roverella (quercus pubescens Wild.)
  • Pino domestico (pinus pinea L.)

Moscato Truffle

(Tuber Brumale var. Moscatum de ferry)

Winter Black Truffle

(Tuber Brumale Vitt.)

Black Truffle

(Tuber Uncinatum Chatin)

Smooth Black Truffle

(Tuber Macrosporum Vitt.)

Ordinary Black Truffle

(Tuber Mesentericum Vitt.)

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