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Protocols in ecological and environmental plant physiology


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 40(6)

Ripening of grape berries can be advanced or delayed by reagents that either reduce or increase ethylene levels

Christine Böttcher A, Katie E. Harvey A, Paul K. Boss A and Christopher Davies A B

A CSIRO Plant Industry, PO Box 350, Glen Osmond, SA 5064, Australia.
B Corresponding author. Email: christopher.davies@csiro.au

Functional Plant Biology 40(6) 566-581 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/FP12347
Submitted: 19 November 2012  Accepted: 23 February 2013   Published: 5 April 2013

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Grape (Vitis vinifera L.) berries are considered to be nonclimacteric fruit as they do not exhibit a large rise in ethylene production or respiration rate at the onset of ripening (veraison). However, ethylene may still play a role in berry development and in ripening in particular. (2-Chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (CEPA), an ethylene-releasing reagent, delayed ripening when applied early in berry development. In agreement with a role for ethylene in controlling the timing of ripening, the application of an inhibitor of ethylene biosynthesis, aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), advanced ripening, as did abscisic acid, when applied during the preveraison period. Applications of CEPA nearer to the time of veraison enhanced berry colouration. Changes in the expression of ethylene biosynthesis and receptor genes were observed throughout berry development. Transcript levels of some of these genes were increased by CEPA and decreased by AVG, suggesting changes in ethylene synthesis and perception during the preveraison period that might contribute to the biphasic response to CEPA (ethylene). The significant delay of ripening in field-grown grapes through the application of CEPA also indicates that this may be useful in controlling the timing of veraison, and therefore harvest date, in warmer climates.

Additional keywords: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid, aminoethoxyvinylglycine, veraison, Vitis vinifera.


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