One-third of the world’s population is suffering from “hidden hunger” due to micronutrient deficiency. Zinc is acquired through diet, leading its deficiency to the development of disorders such as retarded growth, anorexia, infections, and hypogeusia. Accordingly, this study aimed to develop an agronomic workflow for Zn biofortification on two red winegrapes varieties (cv. Castelão and Syrah) and determine the physicochemical implications for winemaking. Both varieties produced in Setúbal (Portugal) were submitted to four foliar applications of ZnSO4 or ZnO (900 and 1350 g ha−1, respectively), during the production cycle. At harvest, Zn biofortification reached a 4.3- and 2.3-fold increase with ZnO 1350 g ha−1 in Castelão and Syrah, respectively (although, with ZnSO4 1350 g ha−1 both varieties revealed an increase in Zn concentration). On a physiological basis, lower values of NDVI were found in the biofortified grapes, although not reflected in photosynthetic parameters with cv. Syrah shows even a potential benefit with the use of Zn fertilizers. Regarding physical and chemical parameters (density, total soluble solids, dry weight, and color), relative to the control no significant changes in both varieties were observed, being suitable for winemaking. It was concluded that ZnSO4 and ZnO foliar fertilization efficiently increased Zn concentration on both varieties without a negative impact on quality, but cv. Castelão showed a better index of Zn biofortification and pointed to a potentially higher quality for winemaking.
- zinc biofortification