When cooked, most truffles can turn moldy fairly easily; even a small amount of water (>4OZ) and heat (>140oF) can ruin them. Some care is necessary in the preparation and serving of dry truffles, but the end-product will be worth it.
A recent study has revealed that truffle infestation rates can be quite high, and up to 70% of commercial Italian white truffles sold in the United States in 1998 were infested with truffle canker, which is caused by the pathogen Tuber melanosporum f. truffle (Bunning) Breitenbach & Krapp (FB&K). This disease causes the affected truffles to lose weight and become increasingly unappetizing to humans; these truffles will eventually spoil. Though T. melanosporum f. melanatospora is more common in western Europe than in the eastern United States, it has also been found in the United States, presumably as a result of the movement of infested fruit.
When growing truffles, it is of paramount importance to ensure that nothing but Truffle can be grown. Truffles are fungi, and of the more than 2,000 species of fungi that are found on truffle cankers on commercial truffle crops, many are also edible, and some are highly desirable to chefs.
Truffle cankers on current specimens of Truffle, when fresh, are completely closed, and any moisture or insects that may be present are enclosed within the canker. Because Truffle canker pathogens such as FB&K do not grow on living tissues, they are inactivated by heat of 121°F for 2 seconds, or autoclaving for 20 minutes at 14 inches above the top of the truffle. If truffles develop cracks or fissures and the cankers partially emerge, then they must be cured and stored at less than 35 degrees Fahrenheit for no more than 2 weeks
Sulfur-based fungicides such as CosmoCell and Chloropromochlor (CPR) can be applied to infected truffles, but not when the truffles are actively growing. Oxygen and good ventilation are also essential.
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