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Individual Highlight

Forest Service Scientists Help Turkish Foresters Cultivate Truffle Species

Photo of Dr. James Trappe (Forest Service, emeritus scientist) and Mr. Turgut Keskin (Turkish entrepreneur interested in developing a commercial truffle industry in Turkey) enjoy the aroma of Tuber aestivum near Denizli, Turkey. Michael Castellano, USDA Forest ServiceDr. James Trappe (Forest Service, emeritus scientist) and Mr. Turgut Keskin (Turkish entrepreneur interested in developing a commercial truffle industry in Turkey) enjoy the aroma of Tuber aestivum near Denizli, Turkey. Michael Castellano, USDA Forest ServiceSnapshot : Forest Service scientists provided training to Turkish Ministry of Forestry personnel in the importance of ectomycorrhizal fungi to forest productivity. They created a framework for assessment and monitoring of ectomycorrhizal truffle diversity in Turkish forests, in the hope of developing a commercial (culinary) truffle harvest in Turkey.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Castellano, Michael  
Research Location : Turkey
Research Station : Northern Research Station (NRS)
Year : 2013
Highlight ID : 492

Summary

Truffle fungi live amongst the roots of forest plants and form sporocarps below-ground. These under-ground sporocarps depend upon animal mycophagy for spore dispersal but are highly prized for culinary use. Truffles are predominantly mycorrhizal, meaning that they are in a mutually beneficial relationship with tree roots. (The fungus explores substrate for nutrients and water and transfers them to the tree through the root interface; the fungus receives carbohydrates in exchange.) Turkey has an extremely diverse forest community structure with native forest trees from Europe and Asia, but there is no knowledge of truffle occurrence and diversity in Turkish forests. Forest Service scientists mentored Dr. Aziz Turkoglu on truffle biology, ecology, and systematics. His Forest Service mentor then visited the Turkish Ministry of Forests to train Turkish foresters in the assessment and monitoring plots for truffle diversity and also visited 13 different forest regions to share information on the importance of truffles in forest ecosystems and explore opportunities for collecting commercially viable truffle species.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • James Trappe, Pacific Southwest RS (emeritus)
  • Aziz Turkoglu, Mugla Sitki Kocman University, Turkey
  • Omer Naci Kaya, Turkish Ministry of Forests,