Desert Truffles, belonging to the genus Terfezia and Tirmania, are native to Qatar and known locally as “Al-Fag’a or Al-Kamaa”. Desert truffles have a long history of use for food and medicine in Qatar and in the neighboring states too. They are adapted to heat stress and drought conditions. The white color truffles belonging to the genus Tirmania, locally called Zubaidi are more appreciated in Qatar than the dark brown color truffles, which called locally Ikhlasi (belonging to the genus Terfezia). In season 2011 in Doha, Qatar Tirmania (Zubaidia) was selling for 1000 rayal/kg. These fungi are also mycorrhizal - they grow in a mutualistic association with the roots of the desert sunflower, Helianthemum spp. Both the soil and vegetative attributes of truffle beds are being characterized in order to increase our understanding of the habitat in which desert truffles naturally grow. Qatari truffle sites soil have been evaluated for both physical and chemical properties such as: soil texture and pH. The approximate compositions of the Qatari truffle grown wild in Qatar were determined and their genetic maps will be explored. Increasing the wild Qatari truffles crop in their natural habitat was planned last season.

Germination and inoculation of Qatari Helianthemum spp and tree seedlings with truffles will be applied.

The overall aim of this study is to conduct research that will support the development of a sustainable desert truffle agro-industry in Qatar, capable of withstanding the effects of climate change.


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