Australian Truffle Industry at Risk
It may be hard to believe, but Tasmania has a thriving truffle industry. Perigord, the company that began truffle growing in Australia, has a trained team of dogs to search out the valuable product.
Something is damaging the crop. A beetle related to the European truffle beetle has appeared. Truffle beetles have not been studied to a great extent. Until now the fungus has been pest free. In Europe they are also destroyed by flies, gnats, and larvae. Because the European truffle has only been here for about thirty years, growing them was easy. The pests have found them and are attacking. It seems the local beetle likes them too. Moreover, the European snail has inadvertently been imported.
There is a problem in doing research to identify the culprits. Truffles must be dug up to be examined before they ripen. Once brought into the light at this early stage they are no good for the market. Using pesticides as is done in Europe would be very expensive. Few Australian producers are willing to come forward to assist the study, fearing financial loss.