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Journal Articles OENO One Year : 2022

The sugarless grape trait characterised by single berry phenotyping

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In grape production, the selection of varieties well-adapted to climate fluctuations, especially warming, is based on achieving a balance between fruit sugars and acidity. In recent decades, temperature has been constantly rising during ripening causing excessive sugar concentrations and insufficient acidity in wine grapes in the warmest regions. There is thus an increasing interest in breeding new cultivars able to ripen at lower sugar concentration while preserving fruit acidity. However, the phenotyping of berry composition challenges both methodological and conceptual issues. Indeed, most authors predetermine either average harvest date, ripening duration, thermal time or even the hexoses concentration threshold itself to compare accessions at a hopefully similar ripe stage. In this study, we phenotyped the fruit development and composition of 6 genotypes, including 3 new disease-tolerant varieties known to produce wines with low alcoholic contents. The study was performed at single berry level from the end of the green growth stage to the end of phloem unloading, when water and solute contents reach a maximum per berry. The results confirm that sugarless genotypes achieve fruit ripening with 20-30 % less hexoses than the classical varieties, Grenache N and Merlot N, without impacting berry growth, total acidity or cation accumulation. The sugarless genotypes displayed a higher malic acid/tartaric acid balance than the other genotypes, but similar sucrose/H+ exchanges at the onset of ripening. Data suggest that the sugarless phenotype results from a specific plasticity in the relationship between growth and the turgor imposed by organic acid accumulation and sugar loading. This opens interesting perspectives for the understanding of the mechanism of grapevine berry growth and for breeding varieties that will cope better with climate warming.
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hal-03887292 , version 1 (06-12-2022)


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Antoine Bigard, Charles Romieu, Hernán Ojeda, Laurent Jean-Marie Torregrosa. The sugarless grape trait characterised by single berry phenotyping. OENO One, 2022, 56 (3), pp.89-102. ⟨10.20870/oeno-one.2022.56.3.5495⟩. ⟨hal-03887292⟩
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