The impact of leaf canopy management on eco-physiology, wood chemical properties and microbial communities in root, trunk and cordon of Riesling grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.)

In the last decades, climate change required already adaptation of vineyard management. Increase in temperature and unexpected weather events cause changes in all phenological stages requiring new management tools. For example, defoliation can be a useful tool to reduce the sugar content in the berries creating differences in the wine profiles. In a ten-year field experiment using Riesling (Vitis vinifera L, planted 1986, Geisenheim, Germany), various mechanical defoliation strategies and different intensities were trialed until 2016 before the vineyard was uprooted. Wood was sampled from the plant compartments root, trunk, cordon and shoot for analyses of physicochemical properties (e.g. lignin and element content, pH, diameter), nonstructural carbohydrates and the microbial communities. The aim of the study was to investigate the influence of reduced canopy leaf area on the sink-source allocation into different compartments and potential changes of the fungal and prokaryotic wood-inhabiting community using a metabarcoding approach. Severe summer pruning (SSP) of the canopy and mechanical defoliation (MDC) above the bunch zone decreased the leaf area by 50% compared to control (C). SSP reduced the photosynthetic capacity, which resulted in an altered source-sink allocation and carbohydrate storage. With lower leaf area, less carbohydrates are allocated. This for example resulted in a decreased trunk diameter. Further, it affected the composition of the grapevine wood microbiota. SSP and MDC management changed significantly the prokaryotic community composition in wood of the root samples, but had no effect in other compartments. In general, this study found strong compartment and less management effects of the microbial community composition and associated physicochemical properties. The highest microbial diversities were identified in the wood of the trunk, and several species were recorded the first time in grapevine.

Keywords: defoliation, non-structural carbohydrates, microbiological diversity, source sink allocation, Riesling

Authors: Susanne Tittmann1, Susanne Hamburger1,2, Vanessa Stöber1, Manfred Stoll1 and Harald Kellner3

1Department of General and Organic Viticulture, Geisenheim University, Germany
2Julius Kühn Institute, Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants, Germany
3International Institute Zittau, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany


Keywords: defoliation, non-structural carbohydrates, microbiological diversity, source sink allocation, Riesling

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