Environment Marsupial manure solves truffle trouble

Marsupial manure solves truffle trouble

Wallaby waste is more important than you’d think.

The cute creatures play an important part in preserving Australian forest systems by spreading truffle spores.

Not just a pricey restaurant treat, truffles are vital to forest ecosystems by helping trees take in water and providing a defence against disease.

But unlike mushrooms and other fungi, truffle spores can only spread if eaten by an animal.

New research from Edith Cowan University has shown wallabies are more crucial than ever in circulating truffle spores as other smaller mammals have become rarer.

Researcher Dr Melissa Danks studied the travel patterns and toileting habits of wallabies to learn more:

“Many of our bushland plants have a partnership with truffles for survival and so it is really critical to understand the role of animals in dispersing these truffle spores,” she said.

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