MYCOLOGY

Indescribably delicious odors

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Science  26 Mar 2021:
Vol. 371, Issue 6536, pp. 1329-1330
DOI: 10.1126/science.371.6536.1329-c

White truffles are prized for their delicious aromas that often originate from diverse microbial associates.

PHOTO: GIUSEPPE CACACE/GETTY IMAGES

Truffle fungi bring intense flavors to the table, with hints of garlic, potato, malt, cabbage, popcorn, and butter. Niimi et al. analyzed how volatiles from the white truffle Tuber magnatum vary with fruiting body maturity, the truffle's own microbiome, and soil, climate, and season. Volatiles exuded from truffles collected in Italy and Croatia comprised a similar range of compounds that nonetheless varied in relative concentration to produce distinct aromas. The diversity in volatile profile, it turns out, is associated with diversity in microbial affiliates. Although like fine wines, truffle aromas can also be attributed to terroir, the volatile profiles of individual truffles vary more within a region.

New Phytol. 10.1111/NPH.17259 (2021)

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