Selection/multiplication of chestnut specimens resistant to chestnut ink disease. Characterization of resistance source.

The aim is to select clones for chestnut trees that are
resistant to chestnut ink disease, characterize the
resistance sources and develop vegetal multiplication
techniques for the selected clones.

The Chestnut is an economically important species that is valued for its wood and fruit production. The Chestnut populations have drastically declined due to fire, and above all, because of the action of the pathogens (Phytophtora and Cryphonetria), thus hybrid clones will be selected from the Castanea sativa and C. crenata, the latter resistant to fungus, due to their resistance to disease and their forest qualities. In the FOREST RESEARCH CENTRE OF LOURIZAN (Pontevedra, SPAIN), different tests have been performed to establish a propagation system better suited to this material that can be used by commercial nurseries. Nevertheless, the use of hybrids poses some disadvantages in relation to the use of native species, such as incompatibilities in the grafting programmes, lesser strength, poor wood and especially low fruit quality, etc.; on the other hand, there have not been any systematic follow-up of the spread of hybrids, thus it is currently unknown the degree of genetic introgression of the oriental species (that have natural resistance) with the European Chestnut (C. sativa) populations. The delimitation of the genetic patrimony of this species is an essential requirement for any selection/conservation programme that assumes this task. On the other hand, the traditional systems for vegetal propagation are not sufficient to satisfy the demand. The semi-herbaceous cutting and micro-propagation systems developed in the basic research centres and transferred to the sector's companies could be a real alternative. Biotechnology currently allows the use of conservation systems with a high degree of reliability. As for the natural populations, until now selections have not been made that take advantage of this species natural resistance against this aforementioned fungus, which could be useful above all, in high areas, where these fungi are less active. Taking into account the aforesaid, the following actions will be undertaken in this project: · Selection of the natural specimen populations of Castanea sativa based on their wood and fruit qualities, · Testing of this material to verify its resistance to disease and define the corresponding populations to be improved, if required. · Use of molecular markers to characterize the resistance sources as well as the introgression of the interspecies hybrids in the natural populations. · Discrimination of the multiplication methods (semi- herbaceous cutting and in vitro cultivation) of different clones, both the Castanea sativa as well as resistant interspecies hybrids, depending on their affinity with the different methods. · Field-testing of the different clones to optimize their usage. The application of all these biotechnological tools is an essential contribution for the improvement and sustainable development of the rural areas in danger of deforestation, where the chestnut still possesses a notable incidence in municipal areas that use the wood and fruit as a supplement in their economy. The project intends to obtain specific results in: i) the definition of the resistance and suitability of the existing hybrid clones at the present time for their use in different environments, ii) in the selection of the indigenous individuals of the native specie for their productive qualities and resistance against diseases, and iii) in the reproduction and establishment of improvement populations in all cases, which is planned to be achieved by performing the following actions: 1. To perform tests to discover the suitability of the materials selected from the hybrid Chestnut trees that are resistant to different environments. 2. To select the Country's chestnut specimens (Castanea sativa) that are resistant against Chestnut Ink disease, by evaluating their aptitudes for wood and fruit. When necessary, to found improvement populations. 3. Use of molecular markers to characterise the resistance sources in the natural chestnut populations and to determine the introgression of hybrids among the natural populations. 4. To establish in vitro cultivation of the specimens of C. sativa with natural resistance against disease and selected because of their fruit variety. 5. Germplasm Conservation: in vitro maintenance of selected specimens. 6. Transfer of developed technology and/or material to companies to carry out the large-scale propagation task. 7. Reproduction of the hybrid chestnuts in the nurseries and possible native individuals resistant to Chestnut ink disease by means of semi-herbaceous cutting. Keywords: hybrid chestnut, tree nursery, ink disease.
Project ID: 
2 689
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
1 380 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Plant selection/production technology
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.