Date of Award
This thesis describes a study conducted in the years 2019-2022, which aimed to discover a new species of truffle in the state of Mississippi. Tuber lyonii, more commonly referred to as the “pecan truffle,” is an ectomycorrhizal fungus found on the roots of pecan trees in much of the southeastern region of the United States. Though there are many truffles native to the United States, the pecan truffle is one of the few that has been found to have high culinary value. Given the plethora of pecan orchards in the state of Mississippi, I decided to search for evidence of Tuber lyonii in Mississippi soil, and also attempted to use dogs as a means to truffle hunt in the pecan orchards. While truffle hunting with the lab’s truffle dog, I took soil samples from several pecan trees in the different orchards. These samples were then investigated for ectomycorrhizal root tips, and tested through polymerase chain reaction to determine the DNA of the ectomycorrhizal fungi present. Additionally, I went truffle hunting in Tuscany, Italy with a truffle hunting expert, Giacomo Boccacini. While there I learned useful training methods to be applied to hunting with dogs in Mississippi. Through all of our efforts, we found evidence of several multiple truffle species in the pecan orchards, including Tuber lyonii in the Bounds Pecan Orchard. Though we were not successful in hunting the truffles with the dogs, the evidence shows that Tuber species are present in Mississippi. With more training of the dogs, and perhaps more knowledge of the fruiting season of Tuber lyonii, I think it very possible for dogs to be trained to hunt truffles in Mississippi.
Hodges, Scout, "Discovery of Truffles (Tuber species) in North Mississippi Pecan Orchards" (2022). Honors Theses. 2688.
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