Crop Biotech Update

Solar Ultraviolet Radiation May Improve Grape Fruit and Wine Quality

July 23, 2014

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation affects the expression of several phenylpropanoid biosynthesis-related genes, which in turn affects the final composition of both grapes and wines. However, the full influence of solar UV radiation in grapes remains relatively unknown.

Researchers from the Universidad de La Rioja, Edificio Científico-Tecnológico in Spain found 121 grape genes which had altered expressions due to solar UV radiation. Analysis of the grape berry skin revealed that genes up-regulated by UV radiation were mostly UV-B -responsive genes. Secondary metabolism-related genes were also induced by UV radiation including flavonol biosynthetic and monoterpenoid biosynthetic genes.

Results suggest that the biosynthesis and accumulation of secondary metabolites, which adds quality in winemaking, were triggered by UV radiation exposure. This may lead to additional treatments or practices that may increase solar UV radiation on vineyards since they may improve grape features.

For more information on the study, visit http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2229/14/183/abstract.