The MAGNATUM project

In the world of European gastronomy there exists another truffle that is acclaimed by connoisseurs: the TUBER MAGNATUM or ALBA TRUFFLE or the WHITE ITALIAN TRUFFLE.

This truffle is more and more rare and expensive as it is only found in the wild in remote regions of Italy and Croatia. This variety had been threatened to disappear.

For more than 10 years we have put into place a research project with INRA, based in CLERMOND FERRAND, in order to find a method of successfully inoculating the roots of surrogate trees with the precious mushroom. The trees would then be planted into the appropriate soil types that would favour the production of the TUBER MAGNATUM and save it from possible extinction.

The method of inoculation has been far different and more difficult than the one used with the TUBER MELANOSPORUM.

At last, after years of research, the process has left the INRA laboratory to enter into the “development stage” in the nursery. This is where the project stands today.

The ROBIN nurseries in St. Laurent du Cros in the Hautes Alpes produced their first plants inoculated with the TUBER MAGNATUM. A few of these trees were planted on small parcels Italy and in Haute Provence.

In order to continue to be part of this extraordinary adventure, we have purchased 5 hectares of land with soil offering favourable conditions for the development of this superb truffle.  The very first trees have been planted there.

For passionate risk-taking sponsors, they can take part in a scientific adventure by participating in the planting of trees inoculated with TUBER MAGNATUM from the ROBIN nurseries, in accordance to the procedures set out by INRA.

At this stage of research no harvest can be guaranteed.

However, should the trees produce their first TUBER MAGNATUM in 7 or 8 years time (maybe sooner maybe later), those who took part in the protection of the variety could benefit greatly from this project. Due to its rarity and the craze surrounding the TUBER MAGNATUM, the price of this truffle is 4 or 5 times greater than the TUBER MELANOSPORUM.

Even if the cultivation of this truffle were to ensure greater production levels in years to come, the pioneers would be the first to benefit from having participated in the early stages of its development.

The cost of sponsorship per tree would be 700 euros in 2011.