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Climate change allows black truffle to grow in the United Kingdom for the first time

VARAINE / WIKIPEDIA Périgord black truffles (Tuber melanosporum) are good at adapting to new habitatsVARAINE / WIKIPEDIA

Originally from the south of France and found mainly in places with a Mediterranean climate, the Périgord black truffle (Tuber melanosporum), one of the most expensive foods in the world, has been cultivated in the UK for the first time (Climate Change, November 2). After nine years of waiting, the truffle, which is worth as much as US$2,100 per kilogram on the international market, was harvested from among the roots of an oak tree in Monmouthshire, Wales, in March 2017. It was found by a trained truffle-hunting dog named Bella. Truffles are edible underground fungi that naturally grow—or can be cultivated—near tree roots. They were grown on British soil as part of a program coordinated by Mycorrhizal Systems (MSL), with support from the University of Cambridge and local producers. Microscopic and genetic analysis confirmed that Bella’s discovery was indeed a Périgord black truffle, the second most expensive behind the white truffle from Northern Italy (Tuber magnatum). Researchers at the University of Cambridge attributed the successful cultivation of black truffles in the UK to two factors: their ability to adapt to new habitats, and climate change, which has raised temperatures in many parts of the country. The effect of global warming on the British Isles has also led to the production of sparkling wines in the southern counties of Kent and Sussex, where the limestone soil offers a similar environment to the Champagne region of France.