Truffle - fertile body of the fungus

The vegetative body of the fungus is Mycelium, consisting of thin, tubular fibers barely visible to the naked eye called Hyphae. The visible part of the fungus, or what is commonly referred to as “true fungus” or truffle, is the fertile body (Carpofor). The formation of the fertile part of the fungus or truffle takes several months to a year, depending on the necessary conditions.

Symbiosis - Mycorrhiza (Mykes - fungus, Rhiza - root)

Since mycorrhizal fungi actually infest the roots of their host plants, symbiosis is achieved by the underground fungus supplying the plant with nitrogen, water and additional nutrients such as phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium and so on. In this manner, the underground fungus makes a network of fine fibers called Hyphae and penetrates to the parts of the soil that the plant can not reach with its own roots. In return, the plant provides the fungus with nutrients, such as carbohydrates and place of living.

Chemical composition

Chemical composition of black truffle Tuber Melansoporum, according to French explorer J. Rebiere, 1967:

Fresh black truffle:
  • Water - 76.60
  • Dry substances - 23.40
Dry substances:
  • Organic ingredients and nitrogen - 92.17
  • Mineral matter (ash) - 7.83
Mineral substances:
  • Phosphoric Acid - 30,20
  • Potassium - 25,15
  • Calcium - 9,40
  • Carbonic Acid - 8,85
  • Sodium - 1,10
  • Magnesium - 0,20
  • Other ingredients - 25,02

Smell or taste

The edible part of truffles has an extraordinary chemical composition, a pleasant taste and a special smell. Despite having an excellent ratio of organic and mineral substances which makes them, without doubt, the highest quality fungi, they have achieved their fame thanks to the specific smell that puts them on the top of the gourmet charts.

Animal “gourmets”

In addition to “homo sapiens”, truffles are loved and eaten by the following “gourmets” as well: bears, pigs, deer, wolves, foxes, badgers, goats, squirrels, dormice, mice, rabbits, various snails, cockhafer larvae, truffle fly (Helomyza tuberiperda) and other.

Aphrodisiac

Pigs, especially sows, have a natural affinity towards truffles. Scientific research has shown that this is partly due to the fact that fungi produce a steroid identical to the pheromone produced by boars during the mating season. The identified hormone, androstenol, is also excreted by people at much lower concentrations than male pigs, which is a fact that can be claimed to support statements that truffles are an aphrodisiac.

Underground warfare

There are many types of underground fungi, so an intense competition is taking place under the ground between them for a place on the root and for nutrients. This is a true “underground warfare”, and sometimes we find seemingly ideal potential habitats without any truffles. Some species have developed rapid-attack tactics, i.e. they quickly infect the root before other fungi reach it, while others use chemical weapons to secure their part of the available space.