Somatic Embryogenesis in Açaí Palm (Euterpe oleracea Mart.)

  • Elínea de Oliveira Freitas
  • Inaê Mariê de Araújo Silva-Cardoso
  • Jéssica Cristina Barbosa Ferreira
  • Frederico Henrique da Silva Costa
  • Jonny Everson Scherwinski-PereiraEmail author
Part of the Forestry Sciences book series (FOSC, volume 85)


The açaí palm (Euterpe oleracea Mart.) is a species that belongs to the family Arecaceae and supplies one of the most popular “superfruits” of the Amazon rainforest, commonly known as “açaí-do-pará”. Due to the many health benefits, continuously elucidated by the scientific community, this species has become the target of several consumer markets around the globe. Due to the aforementioned benefits, the demand for products derived from E. oleracea, in Brazil and internationally, has increased over the last years, which requires a transition from an extractive production system to a system based on large commercially farmed areas. The açaí palm (E. oleracea) can be propagated via seeds and via tillering. However, due to the low rates of production and survival of the plants obtained by tillers, commercial-scale production of plantlets is limited to sexual propagation, which presents drawbacks such as the slowness and unevenness of the germination process, aside from the resulting genetic heterogeneity. In this setting, in vitro cultivation techniques—especially somatic embryogenesis—are seen as a promising alternative to clonal propagation of E. oleracea. In the Euterpe genus, relatively few studies of somatic embryogenesis have been developed, limited to E. edulis and E. oleracea, the vast majority using zygotic embryos as initial explants. Immature inflorescences have also been studied as potential explants for palm trees, due to the high embryogenic capacity of the calli originating therefrom. In addition to the explants mentioned above, immature leaves are also seen as possible explants to be used in the initiation of the technique in E. oleracea. This chapter presents and discusses the principles, strategies and limitations of using somatic embryogenesis for the propagation of E. oleracea.



The authors thank CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) for financial support and scholarships. We also wish to extend our thanks to Embrapa Eastern Amazon, Belém, PA, Brazil, for providing the biological material for experiments.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elínea de Oliveira Freitas
    • 1
  • Inaê Mariê de Araújo Silva-Cardoso
    • 1
  • Jéssica Cristina Barbosa Ferreira
    • 1
  • Frederico Henrique da Silva Costa
    • 2
  • Jonny Everson Scherwinski-Pereira
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Forest Engineering (PG/EFL)University of BrasíliaBrasíliaBrazil
  2. 2.Center for Biological and Natural Sciences (CCBN), Federal University of AcreRio BrancoBrazil
  3. 3.Embrapa Genetic Resources and BiotechnologyBrasíliaBrazil

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