So far, studies have mostly focused on the role of mammals such as wild boars and rodents in this process. French and Italian researchers wanted to know more about the role of invertebrates, and in particular slugs.
The cultivation of truffles is an art still shrouded in mystery, a subtle process in which the slug has hitherto been a pest. But wouldn’t the bête noire of the truffle growers be ultimately the best ally of the precious mushroom? In any case, this is what a recent study published in the journal suggests. Fungal Biology, which partly rehabilitates the viscous gastropod.
The truffle, which grows at the foot of trees such as oak or hazelnut, is not able to release its spores (the equivalent of seeds) into the environment to reproduce. “These fungi grow underground, so their strategy for the spores to spread is to get eaten. This is why they have this smell: it attracts animals ”, explains Claude Murat, research engineer at the National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment (Inrae). Once digested, the spores end up in the droppings and are dispersed in the soil.
“Reduces everything to powder”
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