Comparing Kaolin and Pinolene to Improve Sustainable Grapevine Production during Drought

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Brillante, Luca ; Belfiore, Nicola ; Gaiotti, Federica ; Lovat, Lorenzo ; Sansone, Luigi ; Poni, Stefano ; Tomasi, Diego (2016)
  • Publisher: Public Library of Science
  • Journal: PLoS ONE, volume 11, issue 6 (issn: 1932-6203, eissn: 1932-6203)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC4905681, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156631
  • Subject: Research Article | Earth Sciences | Natural Resources | Grapevine | Ecology and Environmental Sciences | Crops | Alcoholic Beverages | Agriculture | Water Resources | Leaves | Flowering Plants | Fruits | Photosynthesis | Plants | Crop Science | Plant Science | Diet | Beverages | Seasons | Biology and Life Sciences | Plant Biochemistry | Plant Anatomy | Medicine | Q | R | Nutrition | Science | Biochemistry | Organisms | Medicine and Health Sciences | Wine | Grapes

Viticulture is widely practiced in dry regions, where the grapevine is greatly exposed to water stress. Optimizing plant water use efficiency (WUE) without affecting crop yield, grape and wine quality is crucial to limiting use of water for irrigation and to significantly improving viticulture sustainability. This study examines the use in vineyards of particle film technology (engineered kaolin) and compares it to a film-forming antitranspirant (pinolene), traditionally used to limit leaf water loss, and to an untreated control. The trial was carried out under field conditions over three growing seasons, during which moderate to very severe plant water stress (down to -1.9 MPa) was measured through stem water potential. Leaf stomatal conductance (gs) and photosynthesis rate (An) were measured during the seasons and used to compute intrinsic WUE (WUEi, defined as An/gs ratio). Leaf temperature was also recorded and compared between treatments. Bunch quantity, bunch and berry weight, sugar accumulation, anthocyanin and flavonoid contents were measured. Finally, microvinifications were performed and resultant wines subjected to sensory evaluation.Results showed that the use of kaolin increased grapevine intrinsic WUE (+18% on average as compared to unsprayed vines) without affecting berry and bunch weight and quantity, or sugar level. Anthocyanin content increased (+35%) in kaolin treatment, and the wine was judged more attractive (p-value <0.05) and slightly more appreciated (p-value < 0.1) than control. Pinolene did not increase WUEi, limiting An more than gs; grapes with this treatment contained lower sugar and anthocyanin content than control, and the obtained wine was the least appreciated. This study demonstrates that particle film technology can improve vine WUEi and wine quality at the same time, while traditional antitranspirants were not as effective for these purposes. This positive effect can be used in interaction with other already-demonstrated uses of particle film technology, such as pest control and sunburn reduction, in order to achieve more sustainable vineyard management.
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