Researchers from Israel’s Ramat HaNegev Desert Agriculture Center have successfully cultivated desert truffles that retail for $120 per pound – four times the price of uranium. This came about thanks to a breakthrough in stimulating the symbiosis between Helianthemum sessiliflorum, a common desert shrub, and Terfezia leonis, a fungus that occurs rarely and unpredictably in nature.
The truffle is a highly sought-after delicacy in the Middle East and elsewhere. Locating and extracting it in nature is a difficult and tenuous proposition. This breakthrough marks the first time the truffle has been cultivated. Since the fungus and the shrub require little water and no fertilizer, the truffle has the potential to become Israel’s most cost-effective crop.
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