Grape vines in hot water

October 2, 2013
Grape vines in hot water

A tool to help growers and nurseries plant healthier grape vines has been developed by a Charles Sturt University (CSU) researcher.

CSU PhD student Ms Helen Waite has developed the tool for reducing trunk diseases in grapevine cuttings as part of her research through the National Wine and Grape Indistry Centre in Wagga Wagga.

"Unhealthy vines are less productive, they produce poorer quality fruit, they're harder to manage and therefore they cost a lot more money so it can sometimes threaten the sustainability of a vineyard," she said.

"It costs from $30,000 to $50,000 to plant a hectare of vines and sometimes people don't consider what they're buying other than the variety and type of root-stock. It's only when the vines don't grow well or fail within two years that they start to think about the quality of the planting material, but of course by then it has cost them a lot of time and money."

Ms Waite said treatment is effective in reducing the spread of trunk diseases in grape-vine cuttings but it can cause stress on the plant.

"Nurseries are a bit wary of using hot because there have been some failures in the past which have been attributed to the stress that it causes the plant. What I'm doing is looking at a system for grape vine propagation that can use hot water safely," she said.

The research has identified that handling and storage of the cuttings before and after the hot water treatment is crucial.

"If we put them straight into cold storage in sealed plastic bags after treatment it basically suffocates the plant," said Ms Waite.

"It's also got to do with how far into the winter they are treated; if it's close to spring and they have started to come out of dormancy then the cuttings are much more susceptible to damage in hot water treatment." The healthy grapevines on the left compared with diseased vines on the right

Ms Waite has developed a risk assessment spreadsheet, with the help of Mr Ken Appleby, which should give grape growers more information about what they're planting.

"The grower can open the package, look at the bundle of vines, use the assessment criteria to get a score, then sample some vines, peeling the bark off and dissecting the to look for disease," she said. "That combined with an examination of the paperwork will give an overall score of the risk of planting that material."

The research has led to the development a set of guidelines for hot water treatment for cuttings which is being trialled in an Australian nursery this year.

"It's difficult to change practises at a time when they're not selling much product due to the down-turn in the wine industry but there has been a new willingness on the part of the nurseries, and the vine improvement schemes who supply the cuttings, to change what they are doing to ensure there's a better product coming out of the system," she said.

Explore further: Protecting Aussie grapevines from new virus

Related Stories

Virus that causes grapevine red blotch disease identified

February 22, 2013

(Phys.org)—New DNA sequencing technology has been used to identify the virus that causes red blotch, a disease that discolors grape leaves in fall and lowers sugar levels in grapes, agricultural nursery managers were told ...

Protecting wine grapes from heat and drought

February 17, 2009

Deficit irrigation is an agricultural technique used to achieve a variety of results depending on the crop. For white wine grapes, it balances the crop load by limiting the canopy size so there aren't too many leaves shading ...

Recommended for you

Scientists create first stable semisynthetic organism

January 23, 2017

Life's genetic code has only ever contained four natural bases. These bases pair up to form two "base pairs"—the rungs of the DNA ladder—and they have simply been rearranged to create bacteria and butterflies, penguins ...

New steps in the meiosis chromosome dance

January 23, 2017

Where would we be without meiosis and recombination? For a start, none of us sexually reproducing organisms would be here, because that's how sperm and eggs are made. And when meiosis doesn't work properly, it can lead to ...

Research describes missing step in how cells move their cargo

January 23, 2017

Every time a hormone is released from a cell, every time a neurotransmitter leaps across a synapse to relay a message from one neuron to another, the cell must undergo exocytosis. This is the process responsible for transporting ...

Lab charts the anatomy of three molecular channels

January 23, 2017

Using a state-of-the-art imaging technology in which molecules are deep frozen, scientists in Roderick MacKinnon's lab at Rockefeller University have reconstructed in unprecedented detail the three-dimensional architecture ...

Immune defense without collateral damage

January 23, 2017

Researchers from the University of Basel in Switzerland have clarified the role of the enzyme MPO. In fighting infections, this enzyme, which gives pus its greenish color, produces a highly aggressive acid that can kill pathogens ...

Provocative prions may protect yeast cells from stress

January 23, 2017

Prions have a notorious reputation. They cause neurodegenerative disease, namely mad cow/Creutzfeld-Jakob disease. And the way these protein particles propagate—getting other proteins to join the pile—can seem insidious.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.