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Reference: Post-veraison irreversible stem shrinkage in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) is caused by periderm formation
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Grapevines are characterized by a period of irreversible stem shrinkage around the onset of ripening of the grape berries. Since this shrinkage is unrelated to meteorological conditions or drought, it is often suggested that it is caused by the increased sink strength of the grape berries during this period. However, no studies so far have experimentally investigated the mechanisms underlying this irreversible stem shrinkage. We therefore combined continuous measurements of stem diameter variations and histology of potted 2-year-old grapevines (Vitis vinifera L. ‘Boskoop Glory’). Sink strength was altered by pruning all grape clusters (treatment P), while non-pruned grapevines served as control (treatment C). Unexpectedly, our results showed irreversible post-veraison stem shrinkage in both treatments, suggesting that the shrinkage is not linked to grape berry sink strength. Anatomical analysis indicated that the shrinkage is the result of the formation of successive concentric periderm layers, and the subsequent dehydration and compression of the older bark tissues, an anatomical feature that is characteristic of Vitis stems. Stem shrinkage is hence unrelated to grape berry development, in contrast to what has been previously suggested.

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Publication Details

Published: 2017
Publication: Tree Physiology
Issue: 2017 Online December 2017
Author: Van de Wal B A E 2017

Brain food

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