Dr. Christophe Robin
Senior Scientist - Directeur de Recherche INRA
Christophe Robin grew up in Rollainville, a small village 350 km East of Paris. While he was student in Plant Science at University of Nancy, he prepared a talk on truffles and, at this occasion, discovered in a book from the end of XIXth century that truffles were found in the area surrounding his village, as in many other places in France. He planted the first inoculated trees in 1986 in the garden and settled the first truffière in 1990 on a land owned by his family.
After the PhD, he joined the French agronomic research Institute (INRA: http://www.inra.fr/) as scientist; he studied the interactions occurring between plants (forage plants, crops) and their biotic and abiotic environment with the issues to reduce inputs in agriculture (fertilizers, water, pesticides). He worked on tropical legumes in the West Indies Islands (16-month period at INRA Guadeloupe). He spent also one year on pasture ecophysiology in New Zealand at AgResearch Grassland Institute (Palmerston-North) in 1993 where he met Dr. Ian Hall, the truffle pioneer in Southern Hemisphere at this period and visited the first New Zealand truffières, some days before the first black truffle harvest in NZ.
He is now the author/co-author of more than 60 scientific papers in international journals and director of the research laboratory INRA-Université de Lorraine “Agronomie et Environnement”.
The first harvest on his truffière occurred in 2005 and since, he hunts truffles (black truffle and Burgundy truffle) with Biela, his dedicated dog that he trained. He included research activities on truffles and trufficulture later on, in 2009. Recently, he has been member of the 3-year research project SYSTRUF in France dedicated to truffle nutrition, reproduction, microbiology… His truffière became one of the experimental SYSTRUF sites. The results obtained on his truffière have been the subject of a dozen scientific articles. In the frame of INRA, he developed also an expertise/consulting on truffles for public territorial authorities/administration at regional scale. Thus, he shares his experience on truffle farming as a truffle grower and scientist, relying on scientific bases, the better way to promote innovative truffle management practices.