The concept of terroir: what place for microbiota?

Microbes play key roles on crop nutrient availability via biogeochemical cycles, rhizosphere interactions with roots as well as on plant growth and health. Recent advances in technologies, such as High Throughput Sequencing Techniques, allowed to gain deeper insight on the structure of bacterial and fungal communities associated with soil, rhizosphere and plant phyllosphere. Over the past 10 years, numerous scientific studies have been carried out on the microbial component of the vineyard. Whether the soil or grape compartments have been taken into account, many studies agree on the evidence of regional delineations of microbial communities, that may contribute to regional wine characteristics and typicity. Some authors proposed the term “microbial terroir” including “yeast terroir” for grapes to describe the connection between microbial biogeography and regional wine characteristics. Many factors are involved in terroir including climate, soil, cultivar and human practices as well as their interactions. Studies considering “microbial terroir” greatly contributed to improve our knowledge on factors that shape the vineyard microbial structure and diversity. However, the potential impact of “microbial terroir” on wine composition has yet not received strong scientific evidence and many questions remain to be addressed, related to the functional characterization of the microbial community and its impact on plant physiology and grape composition, the origins and interannual stability of vineyard microbiota, as well as their impact on wine sensorial attributes. The presentation will give an overview on the role of microbiota as a terroir component and will highlight future perspectives and challenges on this key subject for the wine industry.

Authors: Isabelle Masneuf-Pomarede1,2 and Cornelis van Leeuwen2,3

1Univ. Bordeaux, UR oenologie EA 4577, USC 1366 INRAE, ISVV, Villenave d’Ornon, France
2Bordeaux Sciences Agro, Gradignan, France
3EGFV, Univ. Bordeaux, Bordeaux Sciences Agro, INRAE, ISVV, Villenave d’Ornon, France 

Email: isabelle.masneuf@agro-bordeaux.fr

Keywords: terroir, microbiota, biogeography, wine composition, high throughput sequencing

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