|IN AUSTRALIA THERE IS FOUND A NEW KIND OF TRUFFLES WHICH APPEARS TO BE
THE SECOND ON THE PLANET UNIQUE KIND OF TRUFFLES BELONGING TO THE
FAMILY OF POISONOUS MUSHROOMS
The new kind of truffles discovered in Western Australia belongs to a
new species. The discovery has agitated mushroom experts all over the
world, but the specimens found are so few in number that nobody dared
to subject them to a close research.
Amarrendia oleosa truffle was found in a regenerating forest during
development of a bauxite mine near the city of Pert by Doctor Neil
Bower, chief researcher of Department of Forestry and Forest Products
of CSIRO. "These mushrooms are extremely important in ecosystems", -
said Bower who specializes in mycology - studying mushrooms. "They
revealed for us the processes that support decay and return nutrients
back to the soil".
Truffles are underground mushrooms. Truffles of Amarrendia genus are
white and have size of a dove's egg, though some specimens reach the
size of a chicken egg. This was so far the only genus of truffles
related to the family of "toadstools" (poisonous mushrooms).
The discovery of the new kind of truffles was made approximately a
year ago, and since then Bower who was working together with Doctor
Theresa Lebal from Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne, published their
results of researching the new kind of mushrooms in the Australian
magazine Australian Systematic Botany in the end of last year. So far
nobody knows how edible or poisonous these truffles are, because only
a part of the specimens found was passed to scientific collections for
Department of Forestry and Forest Products of CSIRO has one of the
largest mushroom collections in Australia - more than 12,000 mushroom
For a long time scientists have been suspecting that there must be
kinds of truffles related to the family of "toadstools", and now one
of them was found in Australia, where truffles are a relatively common
and frequent phenomenon. Until now 90 kinds of truffles were found in
Australia, and, according to Bower, this is only 10-20 % of the total
number of their kinds all over the world.
For example, in Europe there are known 50 kinds of truffles.
While nobody has performed chemical analysis of the specimens of the
newly found truffles, they really have the specific smell typical for
truffles. This smell is a part of their survival system - truffles
rely on animals, so that they would find them by the attractive smell,
dig them out of the ground, eat and therefore disseminate their spores
In Europe pigs are used for truffle search, since they are very greedy
of this delicacy; in Tasmania (Australia) dogs are used. But on
Australian continent some of domestic kinds of truffles have developed
symbiosis with the unique fauna of the country - marsupials, who got
accommodated to eating truffles and disseminating their spores.
If the new kind of truffles is poisonous then the quantity of such
mushrooms will be very small, because for their dissemination they
will need only some certain kind of animals, which is not vulnerable
to their poison.