Hybrid hazelnut: micropropagation, rooting and acclimatization

R.P. Pincelli-Souza, M. Tillmann, M. Esler, C.C.D. Alves, J.D. Cohen
American hazelnut (Corylus americana Marshall) is a native woody shrub that produces small but tasty nuts. Hybrids between native North American and domesticated European hazelnuts (Corylus avellana L.) combine the nut quality and yield of the European hazelnuts with the hardiness and disease resistance of the natives. Thus, hybrid hazelnuts (C. americana × C. avellana) have the potential to become a profitable and environmentally beneficial crop in the Midwestern United States. In part, their production is currently limited by inefficient methods of vegetative propagation. Although various claims have been made for the success of hazelnut micropropagation, to date significant barriers remain for its full commercialization. The significant challenges are: establishment of explants year-round, the process of initiating rooting, and explant acclimatization. We are using biochemical and physiological approaches to guide the development of environmental and growth conditions necessary to prepare explants to survive ex vitro. Also, because the plant hormone auxin has been implicated in regulation of adventitious rooting, we are measuring differences in auxin metabolism between easy-to-root and difficult-to-root hazelnut genotypes. We are also using a biological screen based on metabolomics to correlate factors such as compounds involved in primary metabolism, secondary products and stress hormone levels to identify molecular indicators of oxidative and abiotic stress, critical for explant survival. The longer-term benefit of this research will be to establish a modern method of commercialization of woody plants via propagation. Currently, most approaches used for establishing conditions for plant transfer have relied on empirical observation, less common has been a systematic approach where each variable is measured and optimized. It is believed that this ordered analysis of the potential variables and the systematic optimization of multiple environmental conditions has promise across an array of potential perennial crops that might be developed for agricultural use.
Pincelli-Souza, R.P., Tillmann, M., Esler, M., Alves, C.C.D. and Cohen, J.D. (2018). Hybrid hazelnut: micropropagation, rooting and acclimatization. Acta Hortic. 1191, 113-120
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1191.16
auxin, Corylus americana, indole-3-butyric acid, metabolomics, tissue culture, abiotic stress

Acta Horticulturae