S. Korea pushes to develop cultivation method for truffle mushrooms using gene technology

By Park Sae-jin Posted : September 28, 2021, 15:27 Updated : September 28, 2021, 15:27

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- South Korea's forest resources research institute has launched a project to develop a truffle mushroom cultivation method using gene technology. If the project yields goods results for commercialization, researchers think that cultivated truffles will help farmers make a huge profit.

A truffle is a type of fungi that grows on the roots of trees. The rare, valuable food ingredient is mostly found in China and Europe. Tuber Uncinatum, a kind of mushroom known by the name of Burgundy Black Truffle, costs about $877 per kilogram. Because truffles live on tree roots, their cultivation is very hard. It takes about six to seven years to harvest the valuable mushroom.

In a project to vitalize South Korea's mushroom farming industry and help farmers make more money, the Jeollanamdo Forest Resources Research Institute is demonstrating the cultivation of truffles using a next-generation sequencing (NGS) method. The gene test method maps genomes of trees on which truffles grow.

"Currently, we are identifying the right type of trees to cultivate truffle using gene technology. In the next few years, we will try to grow the mushroom on the roots of trees," Kim Hyun-seok, a researcher at the institute, told Aju Business Daily on September 28. He said the institute would focus on reducing the growth duration of truffles to increase production.
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