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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2022-03-01 - 2025-02-28

Heat-waves have occurred frequently in last years in many Austrian wine regions. Such events verify mostly during dry summer periods leading to a combined effect of drought and heat stress on grapevines. Nevertheless, very few studies have addressed the combination of the two factors in a systematic way. Moreover, most of the knowledge we have on the topic comes from arid or semi-arid regions, while the response to such events on continental climates such as in the Austrian wine regions is lacking. Therefore, this 3-years project aims to study the combined effects of the two stressors (heat and drought stress) on the grapevine physiology response and its consequences on berry metabolism and composition with particular focus on key metabolites determining wine quality such as flavonoids and aroma compounds. For the study, Riesling and Blaufränkisch, two widely cultivated winegrapes in Austria particularly rich in aroma compounds such as norisoprenoids, will be considered. The experiments will be carried out under semi-controlled conditions where 2-years old potted vines will be sheltered from rain to fully control water availability. Heatwaves on the other hand will be artificially imposed by means of infrared lamps on the canopy. Parameters such as the photosynthetic efficiency and water use, as well as key metabolites will be investigated in the plant and berries to characterize the physiology adaptation. The partners involved, BOKU-IWOB, Wein&Obst Klosterneuburg RTD, and HBLA Klosterneuburg, are leading institution for research in viticulture and enology with the expertise to achieve the project objectives. In particular, BOKU-IWOB is responsible for the field experiments and vine physiology studies, while the analytical power of the Klosterneuburg institute will allow the detailed analyses of the secondary metabolites in the grape berries.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2019-09-01 - 2022-08-31

The frost protection measures presently applied in wine and fruit growing are examined in this project for their actual effect. They are improved and new measures are developed. In addition to that a digital tool is developed in the course of the project, which links data and information in an intelligent way and delivers forecasts as well as recommendations for actions for farms. By means of this tool wine and fruit growers can protect themselves in a better way against yield losses due to frost damage. In particular, the IWOB group at BOKU will explore the efficacy of using budbreak delaying products as strategy to avoid or reduce the negative impacts of late spring frost events.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2020-07-01 - 2023-06-30

Phenotypic plasticity is defined as the amount by which the expressions of individual characteristics of a genotype are changed by different environments. The PlasticGrape project will study the grapevine metabolic plasticity under drought by characterizing the vine metabolism response to water stress in two climatically distinct environments (Tulln-Austria and Vipava-Slovenia). The central hypothesis of the project is that climatic variables (such as light and temperature) play a crucial role influencing the plant response to drought, in particular its metabolic reprogramming. Consequently, the same genotype would exhibit different phenotype under drought in different climatic conditions (i.e. plasticity). Although the water stress effect on grapevines has been largely studied, very limited efforts were done to understand the interaction between the water availability and other climatic factors such as light and temperature. The PlasticGrape project is specifically designed to fill this gap, shed light on the interactive effects of drought and climatic variables on the plant physiology, and strength our knowledge on the plant adaptation mechanisms to different environments as well as to possible climate change scenarios. To fulfill our objectives, a set of grapevines (cv. Pinot noir grafted onto 5BB rootstock) that was previously planted and grown in one single environment (Tulln) for two years, will be split in two different locations characterized by different climates (Tulln and Vipava, cool and warm climates, respectively). In both locations, mirrored water deficit experiments will be performed with the aim to study the interactive effects of water stress and climate on the plant physiology and metabolism. A similar experimental set-up was never implemented for any other crop before. Moreover, metabolite profiling will allow a comprehensive characterization of the plant metabolism adaptation strategy to drought and its environmental plasticity. To date, no study has addressed the genotype x environment interaction in such way. Greenhouse experiments will be also included to fully control and manipulate environmental variables. Bearing in mind that grapevine is considered a model crop for water stress studies the potential outcomes will largely impact the plant science knowledge.

Supervised Theses and Dissertations