Rootstocck Breeding: Current Practices and Future Technologies

Thompson A. J., Pico M. B., Yetişir H., Cohen R., Bebeli P.

in: Vegetable Grafting: Principles and Practices, Colla G,Pérez-Alfocea F,Schwarz D, Editor, CAB International , Oxford, pp.70-93, 2017

  • Publication Type: Book Chapter / Chapter Vocational Book
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Publisher: CAB International
  • City: Oxford
  • Page Numbers: pp.70-93
  • Editors: Colla G,Pérez-Alfocea F,Schwarz D, Editor
  • Erciyes University Affiliated: Yes


Although grafting has been practised on fruit trees for thousands of years, the
commercial application of grafting on vegetables constitutes a relatively recent
innovation in most countries. After more than 50 years of vegetable crop improvement,
dedicated principally to selecting for above-ground traits, scientists
now perceive root system engineering as an opportunity for integrating dynamic
novel approaches in fostering sustainable vegetable production under changing
environmental conditions, while minimizing the demand for new resources.
Introduction of excellent rootstocks possessing multiple resistances and efficient
grafting systems will greatly encourage the extended application of vegetable
grafting all over the world. Although the benefits of using grafted transplants
are now fully recognized worldwide, the need to enlighten the scientific basis of
rootstock–scion interactions under variable environmental pressures remains
vital for extracting grafting-mediated crop improvement. This has prompted
the COST Action FA1204 entitled ‘Vegetable grafting to improve yield and fruit
quality under biotic and abiotic stress conditions’ aimed at systematizing research
findings ( The COST action allowed the
development of a multidisciplinary network of partners targeting the root system
and employing rootstock breeding to unravel the mechanisms behind rootstock-mediated
crop improvement: the enhancement of productivity and fruit quality,
and the sustainability of vegetable crops under multiple and combined stresses.
The current book is the major output of the COST Action and contains nine
chapters drawing on the 2012–2016 activities of four Working Groups (WGs)
dealing with ‘Genetic resources and rootstock breeding’ (WG1), ‘Rootstock–scion
interactions and graft compatibility’ (WG2), ‘Rootstock-mediated resistance to
biotic and abiotic stresses’ (WG3) and ‘Rootstock-mediated improvement of fruit
quality’ (WG4). While recent advances of scientific knowledge constitute the
core of this COST book, valuable practical information is also provided on rootstock–
scion combinations, on applicable grafting methods, on the establishment of grafted transplants and on recommendations for the use of grafted plants as an
effective tool for sustainable vegetable production.
This book could not have been produced without the dedication and help of
many, and we would like to thank the authors and co-authors who contributed to
the compiled chapters. However, we would also like to express our appreciation to
a large number of scientists and experts who served as reviewers and contributed
to improving the quality of the book. Finally, we would like to thank the COST
Association in Brussels (Belgium) for funding COST Action FA1204 and providing
additional financial support for publishing the current book.
We planned and compiled this book as a collection of scientific information
and as a practical tool aimed at both the people involved in the commercial production
and cultivation of grafted plants, as well as researchers interested in an
understanding of the science and technology behind a grafted plant. We hope all
readers benefit from this book and we remain open to ideas and proposals on how
to amend a future edition.