The trials and tribulations of truffles
Studying the relationships between plants and the soil has reaped some benefits in the commercial world. And one winner is Al Blaker - Australia's first truffle farmer. Truffles are a highly prized food delicacy, but they're very hard to farm - sapling trees need to be inoculated with the fungus when they're young; this sets up what's known as a mycorrhizal relationship between the two. The fungus brings nutrients to the tree, and the tree roots feed the fungus sugars in return. The fungus fruits by producing buried golf-ball sized structures full of spores, otherwise known as truffles. Chris Smith went along to see how Al does it at the Manjimup Truffles in southwest corner of Western Australia...
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