Partnership helps give prized mushrooms their potent and pricy perfume, scientists suggest
K. Korlević/Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)
Truffles, the homely fungal celebrities of the culinary world, have unseen help concocting their prized — and pricey — aromas.
Microbes that inhabit the subterranean mushrooms probably produce key chemicals that make truffles smell like truffles, according to a new analysis appearing online July 17 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Certain microbes may help brew the signature scents that distinguish one truffle species from another, the authors suggest.The pleasant-smelling partners may also explain fluctuating fragrance within individual truffle species.
“There is big variability from season to season, from place to place,” says study coauthor Richard Splivallo, a chemist at Goethe University Frankfurt. A truffle species’ scent can change in both character and intensity, swaying prices that can reach thousands of dollars per kilogram.