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Characterization of natural habitats and diversity of Libyan desert truffles

Bouzadi, Mozidi, Grebenc, Tine, Turunen, Ossi, Kraigher, Hojka, Taib, Hassan, Alafai, Abdulhafied, Sbissi, Imed, Assad, MamdouhEl Haj, Bedade, Dattatray, Shamekh, Salem
3 Biotech 2017 v.7 no.5 pp. 328
Helianthemum, Terfezia, Tirmania, ascomata, biomass, carbohydrates, fructification, genomics, habitats, host plants, internal transcribed spacers, lipids, mycorrhizae, nutritive value, pH, phylogeny, protein content, rain, ribosomal DNA, soil, truffles, Libya
Desert truffles have traditionally been used as food in Libya. Desert truffle grows and gives fruit sporadically when adequate and properly distributed rainfall occurs with existence of suitable soil and mycorrhizal host plant. The present study aimed to identify and characterize two kinds of wild desert truffles from ecological and nutritional points that were collected from the studied area. The truffle samples were identified as Terfezia (known as red or black truffle) and Tirmania (known as white truffle). The nutritional values (protein, lipid and carbohydrate) of both Libyan wild truffle (Terfezia and Tirmania) were determined on a dry weight basis and result showed that Tirmania and Terfezia contained 16.3 and 18.5% protein, 6.2 and 5.9% lipid, 67.2 and 65% carbohydrate, respectively, in ascocarp biomass. The soil pH of the upper and lower regions of the Hamada Al-Hamra ranged between 8.2 and 8.5 giving suitable conditions for fructification. The plants, Helianthemum kahiricum and Helianthemum lippii were the dominant plants in Hamada Al-Hamra region found to form a mycorrhiza with desert truffles. The phylogenetic analysis of the genomic rDNA ITS region showed that, out of five collections three represented Tirmania pinoyi (Maire) Malencon, one Tirmania nivea (Desf.) Trappe, and one Terfezia boudieri Chatin.