Grapes suffer internal oxygen shortage during ripening

Shiraz probe image

Scientists have used a miniature oxygen measuring probe (pictured) for the first time in grapes, to discover how they ‘breathe’ and learn that shortage of oxygen leads to cell death in the grape.

The discovery raises many questions about the potentially significant impacts on grape and wine quality and flavour and vine management, and may lead to new ways of selecting varieties for warming climates.

Scientists have found that the level of oxygen shortage closely correlated with cell death within the grapes. Respiration measurements indicated that this would be made worse by high temperatures during ripening – expected to happen more frequently with global warming.

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Tagged in Research, School of Agriculture Food and Wine, Viticulture and Oenology, Agriculture, Waite Research Institute