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Rutgers University

Rutgers University has been conducting research on hazelnuts since 1996. This research has focused on Eastern Filbert Blight resistance (the major problem of hazelnuts in the eastern U.S.), as well as pest resistance, cold hardiness, yield, and the overall development of hazelnuts for northern climates. Part of this work includes wide germplasm exploration and collection, with focus on newly accessible regions of the former Soviet Union.

Learn more about Rutgers University Hybrid Hazelnut Breeding Program

Key Findings

  • New sources of resistance to the devastating hazelnut disease Eastern Filbert Blight.
  • Rapid techniques to identify hazelnut seedlings resistant to Eastern Filbert Blight.
  • Evaluation of improved hazelnut cultivars developed in Oregon for use in the northeastern United States.

Key Personnel

  • Dr. Thomas Molnar Lead Hazelnut Researcher/Plant Breeder

    Thomas Molnar received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 2006. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Plant Biology and Pathology Department of the Rutgers University School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (New Brunswick, New Jersey). His research program concentrates on the genetic improvement and study of hazelnuts (Corylus) and dogwoods (Cornus). Part of this work includes germplasm exploration, collection, and evaluation. A major aspect of his current research is developing and characterizing genetic resistance to eastern filbert blight, a fungal disease which is the primary limiting factor of hazelnut production in the eastern North America. Breeding objectives in both woody ornamentals and hazelnuts emphasize selection for high levels of disease and pest resistance and cold hardiness.

  • Dr. Bradley Hillman Plant Pathology/Molecular biology: View CV (22.9 KB)

  • Dr. Margaret Brennan Agricultural Economist: View CV (37.4 KB)

Publications/Research Papers (5 Selected Publications)

  • Molnar, T.J., J.C. Goffreda, and C.R. Funk. 2005. Developing hazelnuts for the eastern United States. Acta Horticulturae (International Society for Horticultural Science) 68:609-617.
  • Molnar, T.J., S.N. Baxer, and J.C. Goffreda. 2005. Accelerated screening of hazelnut seedlings for resistance to eastern filbert blight. HortScience 40:1667-1669
  • Molnar, T.J. 2006. Genetic resistance to eastern filbert blight in hazelnut (Corylus). Ph.D. Thesis. 113 pages. Department of Plant Biology and Pathology, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey.
  • Molnar, T.J., S.A. Mehlenbacher, D.E. Zaurov, and J.C. Goffreda. 2007. Survey of hazelnut germplasm from Russia and Crimea for response to eastern filbert blight. HortScience 42:51-56.
  • Molnar, T.J., J.M. Capik, and J.C. Goffreda. 2008. Response of hazelnut progenies from known resistant parents to Anisogramma anomala in New Jersey, U.S.A. Acta Horticulturae (International Society for Horticultural Science). In press.

See all publications & research papers from Rutgers.