European truffle production could end in fifty years' time due to climate change, an academic and commercial truffle expert has warned.
Dr Paul Thomas, director, Mycorrhizal Systems Ltd, has led the first study into climate change and it's impact on truffle production.
With concern climate change will wipe out supply in the southern European nations, Thomas believes the UK could be a new home for truffle production.
Using 36 years of climate data, he found truffle production in Spain, France and Italy is likely to decline between 78 and 100% from the years 2071 to 2100.
"It looks like the UK is probably going to fare quite well - because our rainfall levels will get a little bit more in some areas... and less in the Summer in the East," he explained. "Truffle production will probably move across Europe towards more Germany, Austria, Poland."
Already truffle supply can't meet demand - which is why they are so expensive. On average, a kilo of truffles costs upwards of one thousand U.S. dollars. And the UK still has a long way to go to catch up to Europe.
"We have to plant, hundreds of thousands of hectares now, to offset that," he said. "There's not the land for it - there's not the political will for it - there's not the finances for it. So truffles will survive in small pockets but it won't be on the scale we've got today."