Identify the agent causing rot in tuber melanosporum and management controls

Hazel Hill Pty Ltd

  • Project code: PRJ-006141

  • Project stage: Closed

  • Project start date: Sunday, June 26, 2011

  • Project completion date: Thursday, May 30, 2013

  • National Priority: NEPI-Feasibility studies and industry literature reviews


Truffle rot is a serious issue affecting many truffle growers throughout Australia, resulting in losses of up to 70% of the entire crop. The proposed project will investigate the effects of soil moisture on rot development and its relationship with potential microbial pathogens. A series of experiments will be established with differing rates of irrigation to confirm the causal relationship between soil moisture and truffle rot, and gain a better understanding of the water requirements of the tree and the fungus during fruit body development. In addition, laboratory and field studies will be conducted to determine if there is a microbial agent contributing to rot development. Using knowledge gained over the past 2 years, a variety of screening methods will be tested to develop a reliable and cost effective technique to screen microbial species for rot causing characteristics. Screening methods will be used to reduce the existing bacterial library down to a manageable number of isolates which can be identified using molecular techniques and tested for pathogenicity on immature truffles in the field. This work builds upon findings from initial investigations indicating that the truffles requirement for water is less than previously believed and that rot could potentially be reduced by substantially reducing the rate and frequency of irrigation (p- value = 0.066). This work aims to determine the cause of this potentially catastrophic issue facing the truffle industry and provide scientifically based guidelines for water management of truffle plantations.


New and Emerging Plant Industries

Research Organisation

Hazel Hill Pty Ltd

Objective Summary

This project aims to:
1) Confirm effect of soil moisture on the development truffle rot. If so, by what mechanism.
2) Establish some baseline figures for the water requirement of truffles to guide growers and researchers into the future.
3) Establish a cost effective and reliable method which can be used to test the pathogenicity of microbial species on truffles.
4) Establish if symptoms of rot can be transmitted from diseased to healthy fruiting bodies. Thus confirming whether the disease has a biotic or abiotic cause.
5) Identify the microbial pathogen or range of pathogens (if any) responsible for causing rot of truffles.

It is expected that with the knowledge gained over the past two seasons we can definitively establish whether the rot of truffles is of a biotic or abiotic origin and provide management techniques capable or reducing the incidence of rot.