Sourcing inoculated trees for truffle production in Western Australia

Page last updated: Wednesday, 21 August 2019 - 2:59pm

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

The production of host trees inoculated with Tuber species for the production of truffles is a highly specialised activity. Setting up a truffle orchard is reasonably costly and the period between planting and first harvest can be six or more years. It is critical that orchards are planted with quality inoculated host trees at the start to provide the best opportunity for success.

Permitted truffle varieties in Western Australia

To protect the environment and agricultural industries, Western Australia (WA) has strict import regulations on exotic organisms, including species of culinary truffle fungi. To be permitted to be imported in to WA, such organisms must be listed as ‘Permitted’ on the Western Australian Organisms List (WAOL). The WAOL also lists organisms that are ‘Declared Pest, Prohibited’, ‘Permitted, Requires Permit’ and ‘Declared Pest’. If an organism is not listed on the WAOL, then it is not permitted and will require evaluation before being considered for entry in to WA.

At present, there are six exotic truffle producing Tuber species listed and categorised in WAOL: four are permitted in WA and two are prohibited (see Table 1). All other Tuber species exotic to WA are presently not listed on the WAOL and as such are currently not permitted to be imported in to WA.

Note that the host tree is also subject to the same import regulations as the Tuber species and should be also checked for status.

Table 1 Tuber species listed on the Western Australian Organism List and their current status
Species Synonym Common names Status in WA
Tuber melanosporum   black truffle,
winter black truffle,
Perigord black truffle,
French black truffle
Permitted - s11
Tuber magnatum   white truffle,
Italian white truffle
Permitted - s11
Tuber aestivum Tuber uncinatum summer truffle,
Burgundy truffle,
English truffle
Permitted s11
Tuber borchii Tuber albidum spring white truffle,
bianchetto spring truffle
Permited - s11
Tuber brumale   winter truffle Declared Pest, Prohibited - s12
Tuber indicum   Chinese truffle Declared Pest, Prohibited s12

Sourcing quality trees

The quality of the inoculation process and health of trees is a critical factor in determining the success or failure of the cultivated production of truffles. It is recommended that growers source trees very carefully. It is further recommended that buyers talk with potential suppliers and ideally visit their operation. Check to ensure the nursery you choose is taking careful steps to ensure that:

  • the host trees are inoculated with only the Tuber species requested
  • both the Tuber species requested and host tree is permitted in WA
  • the host trees have an appropriate level of colonisation by the Tuber species
  • there is minimal chance of pest or disease infection of host plant or roots
  • the host trees are healthy and not root bound.

The nursery should be requested to demonstrate/discuss their biosecurity and hygiene practices, discuss the principles of their inoculation quality control steps (though not necessarily the actual inoculation process) and provide a declaration to the above. Individual nurseries may take different steps to ensure the above, some carrying out internal tests others employing external testing.

One external testing option is to request that the inoculated trees come from batches of trees that have been evaluated through the ‘Australian Truffle Growers Association’s (ATGA) Validated Seedling Tree Evaluation Program’ (AVSTEP).

The batch-testing scheme provides an indication of the condition of the trees – including the inoculation percentage of the roots by the desired Tuber species and presence of undesirable contaminant mycorrhizae fungi. Refer to ‘Sourcing truffle trees’ on the ATGA’s web site for more details of the scheme. The scheme is relatively new and not all nurseries listed here are participants in this.

No system, including the AVSTEP scheme, can guarantee that each plant provided matches the report. However, a good quality control system will provide confidence that the trees have been properly inoculated and are unlikely to contain unwanted contaminant species.

Evaluating the inoculation status of host trees may add a cost to the supply of the trees whether it be an internal or external evaluation and you may need to request it, but it should be considered part of the overall investment in plant purchase.

It should be noted that it is currently not feasible to re-inoculate grown trees, or to remove contaminant mycorrhizae from host trees or orchards, so it is important to do this correctly, the first time.

WA Nurseries (alphabetical order)

Manjimup Truffles (Five Acre Nursery)
Location 636 Seven Day Road, Manjimup WA 6258
Managing Director Al Blakers
Phone 0418 932 186
Pottinger Truffles Australia PL (AVSTEP used)
Location 62 Kemp Road, Pemberton WA 6260
Manager David Pottinger
Phone 0458 760 229
TruffiCulture WA (AVSTEP used since inception)
Location South West, WA
General Manager Nathan Carter
Phone 0487 040 178


The nursery list presented may not be an exhaustive list and any omission of a nursery is unintentional. The inclusion of nurseries in this list, nor the mention of the AVSTEP Scheme, does not infer endorsement or preference of any goods or services provided by them by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

Importing trees into WA

There are also several nurseries on the east coast that supply inoculated trees. Trees arriving from interstate are subject to quarantine and biosecurity measures and require a valid import permit. The import conditions vary dependent on a number of things, including where they are being sourced from and the species and production method of the host plant and may require application of fungicides. But as a minimum, the truffle species has to be a permitted species, and be accompanied with an exporter’s declaration that the inoculum was a pure strain of a permitted species. Please see DPIRD webpage on Importing to Western Australia for more information.


The production of truffle inoculated trees is a commercial and competitive industry, with a high level of propriety information. We would like to thank all sources who contributed to the development of this resource. Photographs featured are of trees from Pottinger Truffles.


Alec McCarthy