About this Research Topic
The European hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) is a major species of interest for nutritional use in the genus Corylus, and its nuts are widely used in the chocolate, confectionery, and bakery industries. Hazelnut is a perennial woody plant that is a temperate, diploid, monoecious, wind-pollinated, dichogamous species and exhibits sporophytic incompatibility. The natural geographic distribution of the European hazelnut ranges from the Anatolian peninsula and the Caucasus region to Europe and North Africa. Other Corylus species including C. americana, C. heterophylla, and C. colurna are of local interest for commercial uses and provide important genetic resources for breeding.
The rich genetic diversity in European hazelnut permits the species to be cultivated in different climates. However, the optimum environmental conditions for the most widespread cultivars are climates with mild winters and cool summers. These conditions are met in the main hazelnut producing countries often in areas located near to large water bodies: the Turkish and Georgian coasts near the Black Sea, Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea, Italy and Spain on the Mediterranean Sea, and the Willamette Valley (Oregon, USA) near the Pacific Ocean.
The world production of hazelnut has increased since the beginning of the last century, especially in the last five years, in response to the demands of the confectionery industry that processes ~90% of the harvested nuts. Cultivation of this nut crop has expanded in several traditional countries and established in new places, including Chile, South Africa, and Australia. The introduction of hazelnut cultivars into different environments can lead to reduced productivity and exposes them to new pests and diseases. Thus, increased knowledge and improved tools for research and cultivation are needed for this crop that is of growing interest worldwide.
The aim of this Research Topic is to assemble an effective knowledge platform based on recent research on European hazelnut and its related species. This information would allow enhanced and sustainable intensification of hazelnut cultivation in both traditional and new areas, and aid development of new agronomic solutions to promote the resilience of hazelnut orchards facing climate change. Furthermore, the health benefits of hazelnut consumption remains an important topic.
In this Research Topic, we invite the submission of Original Research and Review articles from breeders, geneticists, eco-physiologists, horticulturists, plant pathologists and agricultural engineers on the following topics:
• Advances in hazelnut breeding methods and new releases from breeding programs
• Advances in genome sequencing and development of markers for traits of interest
• Genetic resources for potential expansion of hazelnut production to new locations
• Recent findings in the propagation of Corylus spp., including micropropagation
• Advances in knowledge of hazelnut pests and diseases and control methods
• Understanding the eco-physiological behavior of European hazelnut and its relatives
• New prototypes and precision farming applications for sustainable intensification of production in hazelnut orchards
• Advances in industrial processing, nutritional value, and health benefits of hazelnuts.
Please note that descriptive studies defining gene families or descriptive collection of transcripts, proteins, or metabolites, will not be considered for review unless they are expanded and provide mechanistic and/or physiological insights into the biological system or process being studied.
Topic Editors Shawn Mehlenbacher and Thomas Molnar both hold patents related to Hazelnut cultivars and pollinizers. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regards to the Research Topic subject.
Keywords: <i>Corylus</i> spp., Breeding programs, Genotyping, Cultivar choice, Precision agriculture, Climatic adaptation, Disease control, Insect pest management
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.