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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #407433

Research Project: Curation and Research to Safeguard and Expand Collections of Plant and Microbial Genetic Resources and Associated Descriptive Information

Location: Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research

Title: Germplasm of Ozark chinquapin (Castanea ozarkensis Ashe) can be cryopreserved by dormant winter buds

item Jenderek, Maria
item Yeater, Kathleen
item THOMAS, ANDREW - University Of Missouri

Submitted to: Cryobiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/29/2023
Publication Date: 12/10/2023
Citation: Jenderek, M.M., Yeater, K.M., Thomas, A.L. 2023. Germplasm of Ozark chinquapin (Castanea ozarkensis Ashe) can be cryopreserved by dormant winter buds. Cryobiology. 114. Article 104833.

Interpretive Summary: Ozark chinquapin, sometimes called Ozark chestnut, is an endemic tree to North America in the Ozark Mountain areas of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Its nuts were consumed by Native Americans, early settlers, livestock and wild animals, and the wood was used in construction. The trees were a significant component of forests, until a chestnut blight fungus decimated trees of the American chestnut and subsequently the Ozark chinquapin trees, and the species became almost extinct. A cryopreservation method (storage in ultra-low temperature of liquid nitrogen), developed at the USDA-ARS, National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in cooperation with University of Missouri, supports conservation of the species, its restoration and a biodiversity in American forests. The method might be applicable to conservation of other tree species in the same plant family, e.g., American, Chinese, and European chestnut, several species of oaks and beeches.

Technical Abstract: Ozark chinquapin (Castanea ozarkensis Ashe) is a forest tree, endemic to the Ozark Mountain region in Eastern United States. Its nutritious nuts were consumed by Native Americans, European settlers, livestock, and wild animals and its wood was an important rot-resistant construction material. Once a significant tree in regional forest communities, the species was nearly eradicated by a chestnut blight caused by Cryphonectria parasitca (Murill) Barr. Some individuals have survived as sprouts from adventitious root buds, but they rarely reach reproductive maturity. While some in situ restoration and conservation efforts are underway, the development of a viable ex situ germplasm preservation method is critical to the conservation of this important food-bearing species. Our experiment aimed to develop a cryopreservation method by using dormant winter buds subjected to eight experimental treatments before desiccation, slow cooling, and storage in liquid nitrogen vapor. The highest post cryogenic viability was 91.2 % for dormant buds pretreated with 0.3 M sucrose for 16 hours followed by 0.75 M sucrose for 3 hours; however, three other pretreatment combination resulted in viability >68%. This procedure might be applicable for other chestnut and forest tree species in the Fagaceae family.