• Open Access

Intraspecific genotypic variability determines concentrations of key truffle volatiles


Author for correspondence:
Richard Splivallo
Tel: +49 551 39 39 63


  • Aroma variability in truffles has been attributed to maturation (Tuber borchii), linked to environmental factors (Tuber magnatum), but the involvement of genetic factors has been ignored. We investigated aroma variability in Tuber uncinatum, a species with wide distribution. Our aim was to assess aroma variability at different spatial scales (i.e. trees, countries) and to quantify how aroma was affected by genotype, fruiting body maturity, and geographical origin.
  • A volatile fingerprinting method was used to analyze the aroma of 223 T. uncinatum fruiting bodies from seven European countries. Maturity was estimated from spore melanization. Genotypic fingerprinting was performed by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP).
  • Discriminant analysis revealed that, regardless of the geographical origin of the truffles, most of the aroma variability was caused by eight-carbon-containing volatiles (C8-VOCs). In an orchard of T. uncinatum, truffles producing different concentrations of C8-VOCs clustered around distinct host trees. This clustering was not associated with maturity, but was associated with fungal genotype.
  • These results indicate that the variation in C8-VOCs in truffles is most likely under genetic control. They exemplify that understanding the factors behind aroma variability requires a holistic approach. Furthermore, they also raise new questions regarding the ecological role of 1-octen-3-ol in truffles.