What is black truffle? Health benefits of black truffle

Know in one minute about Black truffle

  • Black truffle is also known as ‘black diamond of cuisine’, is mostly grown in France, Italy, and Spain
  • It is a highly expensive smooth texture, pungent odor/perfume, and musty earthy flavor fungus.
  • Decrease cholesterol level and help to lose weight.
  • Reduce blood sugar levels and treat diabetes.
  • Prevent oxidative stress and inflammation.
  • Treat fatigue and protect from various diseases.
  • Prevents or relieves inflammation of the kidney thus treating kidney disease.

What is Truffle?

Truffles are underground fungi (family ascomycetes) that live associated with roots of certain woody plants (particularly oaks and hazels). There are about 70 types of truffles and almost half of them are found in Europe. The following article thus emphasizes on what is black truffle and its benefits.

Truffles are usually collected by specialists who have special skills and experience to explore this type of flora. Traditionally, mushrooms and truffles are taken as a type of precious food and consumed either raw or cooked. It is one of the oldest forms of food and very popular to use as a meat substitute. Besides, they have also been applied as the main component of folk medicine.  Due to their highly delicious taste and musky aroma, it can be consumed in large quantities. Because of their special taste and smell that attracts animals that detect and consume them. Currently, truffles are mostly obtained from nature and semi-artificial cultivation that take 4 to 12 years (1).

Truffles are available in 3 types which are in great demand by the food market in many countries 

  1. The Italian white truffle (Tuber magnatum and T. borchii
  2. Perigord black truffle (T.  melanosporum and T. aestivum),  
  3. Chinese black truffle (T.  indicum) (2)

What is Black Truffle?

Black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) is also known as a black diamond, an edible fungus containing many nutritional components. It is highly-priced, appreciated in many cuisines due to its combination of smooth texture, pungent odor/perfume, and musty earthy flavor. It contains a series of volatile organic compounds that give its sensual, seductive, and unique aroma. These aromas not only pleasure humans but also act as odorant cues for other mammals and insects. This helps to locate the precious fungi underground and spread their spores. 

Geographical distribution

It is mainly produced in winter in countries along the Mediterranean coast, such as Italy, France, and Spain. Besides, it is also cultivated in Australia, New Zealand, and North America (3).

Nutritional value of black truffle

It contain important nutrients including proteins, unsaturated fatty acids, amino acids, sphingolipids, cerebrosides, and polysaccharides. It is also rich in unique bioactive metabolites including fatty acid, amino acid, vitamins, and minerals (4).

Compound Amount
Protein 13.10%
Total lipid (fat) 7.30%
Carbohydrate 17.23 g
Fiber, total dietary 5.00%
Sugar 35.60 %
Reducing sugar 2.90%
Total flavones 0.59 %
Total triterpenoids 0.04 %
Mannitol 1.25 %
Total polyphenols 0.67 %
Carotenoid 3.20 %
Total sterol 3.58 %
Potassium 208.10 (‱)
Sodium 0.65(‱)
Calcium 9.67 (‱)
Zinc 1.04 (‱)
Iron 1.03 (‱)
Copper 0.68 (‱)
Manganese 0.08 (‱)
Vitamin A 0.07 (mg/kg)
Vitamin B1 70.43 (mg/kg)
Vitamin B2 24.62 (mg/kg)
Vitamin B3 1533.01 (mg/kg)
Vitamin D2 196.64 (mg/kg)
Vitamin C 1706.52 (mg/kg)

Health benefit of Black truffle

1. Treat Oxidative Stress, Inflammation, and diabetes

Black truffle contains phenolic acid, vitamin C, and E that act as a natural antioxidant. These compounds help to remove harmful radicals from the body. It also helps to reduce glucose levels and inflammatory proteins. Therefore, is effective to treat oxidative stress, inflammation, and diabetes mellitus (5).

2. Treat Fatigue

Fatigue is a constant feeling of tiredness or lack of energy and can be physical, mental, or a combination of both. However, the ingestion of black truffle daily helps to regulate oxidative stress, energy metabolism, and hormone levels. Thus this truffle improves exercise performance and overall energy (6).

3. Antioxidant and antitumor properties

Polysaccharide found in black truffle is beneficial to inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Besides this, it also helps to protect against various diseases (7).

4. Rich in alkaloids

Black truffle contains a good amount of alkaloids such as colchicine, sinapine, leonurine, and piperlongumine than any other truffle. These compounds show antioxidant, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, or antidepressant-like effects (8).

5. Help to lose weight and lower cholesterol level

Intake of black truffle help to reduce body weight and food intake. It is also effective to decrease triglyceride, and cholesterol levels. Also, increased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels thus show hypolipidemic effects. It also prevents or relieves inflammation of the kidney thus treating kidney disease (4).

Q&A

What do black truffles taste like?

Black truffle contains musty earthy strong flavor due to its dark color with a blend of hundreds of volatile compounds. It is very demanding in the food market in many countries because of their special taste and smell. This distinctive aroma is partially derived from microbes that are present in it (9).

Why is black truffle so expensive?

Black truffle contains amino acids, saccharides, and nucleosides. Also, contain organic acids, alkaloids, flavonoids, carnitines, phenols, alcohols, esters, and sulfur compounds. These compounds are much higher found in black truffles compared with the other truffles. Thus black truffle has a higher value for utilization as a drug or food, and that it is reasonable for its higher price (8).

Is black truffle good for you?

Black truffle is an excellent source of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, antioxidants like polyphenols and sterols (Ergosterol and brassicasterol). This ergosterol can be converted into vitamin D in the human body. It also contains protein, dietary fiber and essential amino acids which is beneficial for health  

How much do black truffles cost?

Truffles are sold on the open market for €600–€6000, depending on the species (10). Due to its distinctive characteristics and high economic value, each kilogram of truffles sells for higher than 2000-4000 euros/kg in Europe.  In Australia, the mean price of black truffle is about 950 euros/ kg (11).

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