Prof. Paul Thomas
American Truffle Company®
Prof. Paul Thomas, Partner and Chief Scientist of the American Truffle Company® (ATC), is recognized worldwide as an expert on the cultivation of truffles. He has made the study of this elusive fungus his life’s work, and the cultivation of them his livelihood. It was only natural that a partnership of science and business developed between himself and Robert Chang in 2007. Together they cofounded ATC and have been spearheading rigorous scientific methods to reliably cultivate European truffles in more than 23 countries around the globe.
With a deep passion for truffles and their biology, Prof. Thomas has been actively engaged in many areas of truffle research. It was a passion that began while he was earning a Bachelor of Science with honors in Natural Environmental Science from the University of Sheffield (England), followed by a doctoral dissertation and Ph.D focusing on long distance signaling pathways within the plant kingdom. This understanding is central in truffle cultivation and has led to Prof. Thomas’ development of unique scientific methods to cultivate European truffles. These methods include advanced truffle tree inoculation techniques and orchard establishment and management processes that significantly reduce risk associated with traditional truffle cultivation.
Having actively researched European truffles since 2001, Prof. Thomas has built a solid reputation and developed what is now the largest and most diverse range of truffle research sites worldwide. Spanning four continents and a range of climatic and edaphic (soil) zones, results from these ongoing sites have changed and challenged our understanding of truffles and their biology.
Prof. Thomas was also the winning business proposal and recipient of an investment grant offer on BBC’s Dragon’s Den program (Shark Tank for us American viewers). He has since appeared regularly on TV and radio programs, and numerous publications have written about Prof. Thomas including the Wall Street Journal, BBC, the New York Times and Financial Times.
Thanks to the extensive global research network developed by Prof. Thomas, there are few other people worldwide who has such a diverse and informed understanding of the truffle fungus. Fruits from these studies are shared with client-partners.The majority of this research is kept out of the public domain and used solely to help client-partner truffle growers.
After years of patiently and consistently applying scientific methodologies to ATC truffle orchards, Paul and Robert saw the first scientifically cultivated truffle harvest in March 2015 in the UK, followed by consistent harvests in South Africa, Macedonia and the U.S.