The quality of your wine can be affected by cell death in grape berries. The affects are two-fold: 1) cell death leads to a higher concentration of sugar and alcohol levels because of water loss; and 2) a greater contribution to flavour. Scientists at the University of Adelaide are exploring physiological causes of cell death that will lead to a greater understanding of how this occurs in grape berries.
Zeyu Xiao is a PhD candidate at the ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production, University of Adelaide, and is testing the hypothesis that cell death is triggered by anoxic stress within the berries during ripening.
To test this hypothesis, Zeyu is using oxygen microsensors from Unisense to measure the oxygen concentration inside the berries as well as whole berry respiration changes using the Unisense microrespiration system. The measurements are being performed on berries from various stress treatments in the vineyard throughout berry development.
The research is ongoing and further results will increase our understanding of what causes cell death.
Zeyu Xiao is supervised by Professor Steve Tyerman, Associate Professor Victor Sadras and Dr Suzy Rogiers. This research is being undertaken at ARC Training Centre for Innovative Wine Production, School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, Plant Research Centre, The University of Adelaide.