European truffle conference to be held in Finland in August
The Aalto University School of Science and Technology and the Juva Truffle Center will organize the second European truffle conference of TAUESG in Juva on 20–22 August.
The bioprocess engineering unit of the Aalto University Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology has launched the research and experimental cultivation of truffles in Finland. Aalto University is partner in the Juva Truffle Center.
The organizer and Vice President of the TAUESG conference will be a Senior researcher of Bioprocess Engineering Group, Salem Shamekh D.Sc. (Tech.). The conference is expected to attract around 50 European truffle researchers to Juva.
Salem Shamekh participated in the first-ever conference organized by the Tuber aestivum/uncinatum European Scientific Group (TAUESG) in November 2009. Shamekh’s results of truffles cultivated in Finland aroused interest there, and he was designated as the organizer of the second TAUESG conference.
Innovative research hoped to bring success
The work done at the Juva Truffle Center is carried out in close cooperation with the Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology at the Aalto University School of Science and Technology. In-depth knowledge of biosciences and bioinformation technology play a key role in this significant and innovative project. In addition, it needs visionaries, passion and an entrepreneurial mindset.
‘Aalto University wants to achieve ground-breaking scientific results that lead to innovations and applications, thus bringing new activeness and success to Finland. Truffle research has a good chance of being this kind of successful venture’, says Head of Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology, Professor Jukka Seppälä.
Seedlings survived the cold winter
Salem Shamekh started his first experiments of truffle cultivation about four years ago. The Laboratory of Bioprocess Engineering planted truffle mycelia among the roots of Finnish oak seedlings. The aim has been to develop Finnish truffle cultivation technology. The seedlings survived the past snowy and cold winter well. Normally, truffle mycelia are checked in September.
This study has influenced the discovery of the Tuscany white truffles (tuber borchii) growing in Finland. In 2009, several truffle occurrences were found. The white truffle grows naturally on pine roots.
Certification promotes commercialization
Once the Finnish seedlings have been awarded the European certificate, they will be sold commercially which is being developed at Aalto University. Outside the Southern European truffle season, Finnish truffles are in demand and the grower makes more profit. The Juva municipality hopes the conference and the related international truffle dog competition to boost the tourism in the region.
Salem Shamekh D.Sc.
Director of Juva Truffle Center
Aalto University School of Science and Technology
Department of Biotechnology and Chemical Technology, bioprocess engineering
Tel. +358 9 470 22545
Mobile: +358 400 208 328
E-mail: salem.shamekh [at] tkk [dot] fi