Grape ripening is regulated by deficit irrigation/elevated temperatures according to cluster position in the canopy

Olfa Zarrouk, Cecilia Brunetti, Ricardo Egipto, Carla Pinheiro, Tânia Genebra, Antonella Gori, Carlos M. Lopes, Massimiliano Tattini, M. Manuela Chaves

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The impact of water deficit on berry quality has been extensively investigated during the last decades. Nonetheless, there is a scarcity of knowledge on the performance of varieties exposed to a combination of high temperatures/water stress during the growing season and under vineyard conditions. The objective of this research was to investigate the effects of two irrigation regimes, sustained deficit irrigation (SDI, 30% ETc) and regulated deficit irrigation (RDI, 15% ETc) and of two cluster positions within the canopy (east- and west-exposed sides) on berry ripening in red Aragonez (Tempranillo) grapevines. The study was undertaken for two successive years in a commercial vineyard in South Portugal, monitoring the following parameters: pre-dawn leaf water potential, berry temperature, sugars, polyphenols, abscisic acid (ABA) and related metabolites. Additionally, expression patterns for different transcripts encoding for enzymes responsible for anthocyanin and ABA biosynthesis (VviUFGT, VvNCED1, VvβG1, VviHyd1, VviHyd2) were analyzed. In both years anthocyanin concentration was lower in RDI at the west side (RDIW- the hottest one) from véraison onwards, suggesting that the most severe water stress conditions exacerbated the negative impact of high temperature on anthocyanin. The down-regulation of VviUFGT expression revealed a repression of the anthocyanin synthesis in berries of RDIW, at early stages of berry ripening. At full-maturation, anthocyanin degradation products were detected, being highest at RDIW. This suggests that the negative impact of water stress and high temperature on anthocyanins results from the repression of biosynthesis at the onset of ripening and from degradation at later stages. On the other hand, berries grown under SDI displayed a higher content in phenolics than those under RDI, pointing out for the attenuation of the negative temperature effects under SDI. Irrigation regime and berry position had small effect on free-ABA concentration. However, ABA catabolism/conjugation process and ABA biosynthetic pathway were affected by water and heat stresses. This indicates the role of ABA-GE and catabolites in berry ABA homeostasis under abiotic stresses. Principal component analysis (PCA) showed that the strongest influence in berry ripening is the deficit irrigation regime, while temperature is an important variable determining the improvement or impairment of berry quality by the deficit irrigation regime. In summary, this work shows the interaction between irrigation regime and high temperature on the control of berry ripening.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1640
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
Issue numberNOVEMBER2016
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2016


  • ABA metabolism
  • Anthocyanins
  • Flavonols
  • Heat stress Vitis vinifera
  • Water stress


Dive into the research topics of 'Grape ripening is regulated by deficit irrigation/elevated temperatures according to cluster position in the canopy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this