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Fatty acids and alpha-tocopherol composition in hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.): a chemometric approach to emphasize the quality of European germplasm

Bacchetta, L., Aramini, M., Zini, A., Di Giammatteo, V., Spera, D., Drogoudi, P., Rovira, M., Silva, A. P., Solar, A., Botta, R.
Euphytica 2013 v.191 no.1 pp. 57-73
Corylus avellana, alpha-tocopherol, breeding, cluster analysis, cultivars, fatty acid composition, germplasm, hazelnuts, linoleic acid, lipid content, monounsaturated fatty acids, oils, polyunsaturated fatty acids, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain
In the frame of SAFENUT AGRI GEN RES Action, which was a European strategy for the recovery, characterization and conservation of genetic resources, the fatty acids and the tocopherol profiles of a set of 75 hazelnut accessions were analyzed. The aim of this study was to assess the genetic differences among the European germplasm, contributing to the definition of nut quality in traditional European areas of cultivation. Significant differences were found between accessions for oil amount and contents of most fatty acids. As expected, monounsaturated fatty acids made up the largest portion (mean 80.85 %) followed by polyunsaturated fatty acids (10.70 %). The saturated ones were the minor components and accounted for only 8.43 % of the total fatty acids. On the basis of Student’s test, significant differences between the 2 years of harvest were found for fatty acid content, except for linoleic acid, the ratio of polyunsaturated, α-tocopherol and the stability index. When the oil content was studied in cultivars from the same site of cultivation, the mean values of the genetic pools from central Italy (60.8 %), Slovenia (59.3 %) and Portugal (58.2 %) showed highest values than those of cultivars grown in Greece (56.8 %), Spain (55.9 %) and France (51.5 %). A chemometric approach based on principal component and clustering analyses was developed to identify the most interesting cultivars for breeding programs.