Tag Archives: grapevines

Protecting Aussie grapevines from new virus

Red Blotch on grapevine leaves. Photo courtesy of M.R. Sudarshana, United States Department of Agriculture - Agricultural Research Service

Red Blotch on grapevine leaves. Photo courtesy of M.R. Sudarshana, United States Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Research Service

Story orginally posted in News from the University of Adelaide, Tuesday, 8 April, 2013

University of Adelaide researchers are working to prevent the introduction into Australia of a potentially devastating new grapevine virus.

Waite Diagnostics, at the University’s Waite Campus, has developed a diagnostic test kit for the detection of Grapevine red blotch-associated virus (GRBaV) using DNA analysis.

GRBaV was discovered and first reported in the United States in October last year, and is regarded as potentially far more damaging than the Grapevine leafroll-associated viruses which are established in Australia.

“Viruses in grapevines are insidious and often cause serious diseases which affect production and quality, and can even result in vine death,” says Professor John Randles, Director of Waite Diagnostics.

“We don’t have any way of immunising plants like we can with animals and so we need to employ different methods of control which require detailed knowledge of the virus’ biological properties.”

University of Adelaide grapevine virologist Dr Nuredin Habili said the Grapevine Red Blotch disease was the most recently recognised grapevine disease to date, and is apparently widespread in the US. It significantly reduces the levels of grape sugar by up to five brix (a measure of sugar content), reducing suitability for wine-making.

The symptoms of the Red Blotch disease resemble those of leafroll disease with unexplained reddening of the leaves and, on white varieties, leaf curling and chlorosis, but the depressing effect on sugar content is greater.

“The question is, do we already have this virus in Australia?” says Dr Habili. “If not, we need to import cuttings under tight biosecurity conditions. All cuttings imported from the United States or Canada should be tested before being released from quarantine.”

Waite Diagnostics has tested 10 grapevine varieties from Australian vineyards which have all tested negative.

The diagnostic test developed uses a specific ‘primer’ or piece of genetic material which recognises the matching DNA sequence of the virus, if present, allowing screening of cuttings.

“Viruses are very difficult to identify, the symptoms of virus infection in grapevine all look like each other,” says Professor Randles. “With this latest technology using DNA analysis, we now have 12 different tests for grapevine viruses and phytoplasmas. Our diagnostic kits already go all over the world.

Dr Matthew Gilliham wins 2012 Science and Innovation Award

Last week Dr Matthew Gilliham won the Viticulture & Oenology 2012 Science and Innovation Award for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry sponsored by the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation.

The Awards, coordinated by ABARES, aim to encourage science, innovation and technology in rural industries and help to advance the careers of young scientists through national recognition of their research ideas. Project recipients can undertake groundbreaking research and innovation with the objective of keeping Australia’s rural industries sustainable and profitable.

Dr Gilliham, a University of Adelaide researcher within the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology and the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, will use the $22,000 prize to investigate the genetics of rootstocks to improve Australia’s rootstock breeding program.

Grapevines, like other horticultural crops, are often grafted to rootstocks derived from related species to improve the plant’s ability to tolerate conditions in the soil.

‘In Australia we use rootstocks that tolerate phylloxera (a soil-borne disease) but they also have the potential to improve the ability of vines to cope with climate change,’ says Matthew.

The rootstock known as 140 Ruggeri is one of the most commonly planted in Australia. Over the next 12 months, will collaborate with researchers in Adelaide, Perth and in Verona, Italy, to compare genome sequences of 140 Ruggeri rootstock with the Vinus vinifera (wine grape) genome.

This information will help to identify candidate genes and molecular markers in rootstocks for drought, salinity, root pathogen and acid soil tolerance that could improve Australia’s rootstock breeding programs.

“We hope that this sequencing will provide the important first steps in linking useful traits to genes, an approach that will accelerate breeding for key rootstock attributes and help support a competitive Australian wine sector,” Matthew says.

Matthew hopes it will also benefit horticulture, pasture, grains and other industries that rely on plant production by revealing the information that is needed to help generate more stress-tolerant crops, and improving crop yield and quality.

Mr Neil Fisher, Executive Director of GWRDC, said: “GWRDC is pleased to sponsor young scientists as part of our investment in research, development and innovation in the Australian wine sector on behalf of our three key stakeholders: the Wine Grape Growers Association, Winemakers’ Federation of Australia and the Australian Government.”

“We congratulate Matthew on winning this award and we look forward to his continuing contribution to excellence in the Australia wine sector.”

Image: Dr Matthew Gilliham (centre) with Neil Fischer, Executive Director of GWRDC (left) and Hon Rory McEwan, Chair of GWRDC board (right)

The 2nd A.R. Hickinbotham Lecture – Podcast

The 2nd A.R. Hickinbotham Lecture

Brian LoveysUnderstanding how grapevines control their water use.

Listen to Dr Brian Loveys’ talk which was given at the 2nd A.R. Hickinbotham Lecture on the 9th May, 2011.

Based in Adelaide, Dr Loveys’ research has focused on describing the role played by plant hormones in the control of the growth and development of woody perennial horticultural crops. He is particularly interested in the involvement of the plant hormone abscisic acid in regulating grapevine water use. Dr Loveys aims to provide the Australian winegrape industry with management tools to improve the efficiency of water use.

Dr Loveys studied plant science at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and joined CSIRO in 1972 after a period of postdoctoral study in the United States of America. Until his retirement from CSIRO in 2010 he was a Chief Research Scientist and is currently continuing his studies as an Honorary Research Fellow.

History

The A.R. Hickinbotham Lecture is named in honour of the former Roseworthy Lecturer who is regarded as the father of Australian oenology (wine-making) education. This Lecture recognises individuals that have had an impact on the wine industry and are world leaders in the field of oenology. Alan Robb Hickinbotham (1898-1959) joined the staff at Roseworthy College in 1929 as a Lecturer in Physical and Chemical Sciences. In 1936, he established the nation’s first wine-making course which evolved into the University of Adelaide’s world-renowned Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology which is now run at the Waite Campus. Alan R. Hickinbotham remained at Roseworthy College until 1948. His research and writing on wine-making under Australian conditions laid the foundation for a technically advanced Australian wine industry. The Hickinbotham family continued their father’s passion for wine through their ongoing interests in viticulture and wine production. The National Wine Centre has recognised the Hickinbotham family by naming its major function hall after the family while the Hickinbotham Roseworthy Wine Science Laboratory was established at the University’s Waite Campus in 1998 with the family’s support.

The 2nd A.R. Hickinbotham Lecture

Understanding how grapevines control their water use.

Date/Time: Monday 9th May, 4pm
Location: Plant Research Centre Auditorium, Waite Campus
Speaker: Professor Brian Loveys, CSIRO Plant Industry & University of Adelaide

Short Speaker Biography

Based in Adelaide, Dr Loveys’ research has focused on describing the role played by plant hormones in the control of the growth and development of woody perennial horticultural crops. He is particularly interested in the involvement of the plant hormone abscisic acid in regulating grapevine water use. Dr Loveys aims to provide the Australian winegrape industry with management tools to improve the efficiency of water use.

Dr Loveys studied plant science at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth and joined CSIRO in 1972 after a period of postdoctoral study in the United States of America. Until his retirement from CSIRO in 2010 he was a Chief Research Scientist and is currently continuing his studies as an Honorary Research Fellow.

History

The A.R. Hickinbotham Lecture is named in honour of the former Roseworthy Lecturer who is regarded as the father of Australian oenology (wine-making) education. This Lecture recognises individuals that have had an impact on the wine industry and are world leaders in the field of oenology. Alan Robb Hickinbotham (1898-1959) joined the staff at Roseworthy College in 1929 as a Lecturer in Physical and Chemical Sciences. In 1936, he established the nation’s first wine-making course which evolved into the University of Adelaide’s world-renowned Bachelor of Viticulture and Oenology which is now run at the Waite Campus. Alan R. Hickinbotham remained at Roseworthy College until 1948. His research and writing on wine-making under Australian conditions laid the foundation for a technically advanced Australian wine industry. The Hickinbotham family continued their father’s passion for wine through their ongoing interests in viticulture and wine production. The National Wine Centre has recognised the Hickinbotham family by naming its major function hall after the family while the Hickinbotham Roseworthy Wine Science Laboratory was established at the University’s Waite Campus in 1998 with the family’s support.

If you would like to make an appointment with Dr Loveys or would like more information, please contact Matthew Gilliham.

Robyn van Heeswijck Lecture – Podcast

Dr Brendan Choat

Water transport and water stress in grapevines: new insights using novel imaging techniques.

Listen to Dr Brendan Choat’s talk which was given at the 2nd Robyn van Heeswijck Lecture on the 28th March, 2011.

Plants are capable of transporting water to heights in excess of 100 m, and can extract water from drying and saline soils. To achieve this, they have evolved a transport system that relies on water sustaining a tensile force, such that the xylem sap is at negative absolute pressures. However, this transport mechanism comes with its own set of problems; most notably that water under tension is prone to the formation of emboli, gas bubbles that block xylem conduits and reduced the ability of the plant to move water to the canopy. W, xylemater stress is the principal cause of embolism, which can lead to declines in productivity and ultimately, plant death.

Grapevines are commonly exposed to water stress in the field and are therefore vulnerable to embolism during the growing season. Given predictions of more prolonged and severe droughts associated with climate change, a proper understanding of how water stress induced embolism may limit productivity in grapevines is of great importance to the Australian grape and wine industry. My research addresses two unresolved questions related to plant water transport. First, how resistance to water stress induced embolism differs between plant species and cultivars and second, how plants are able to repair embolised xylem conduits and thus restore lost transport capacity. Recent advances in imaging technology such as micro computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging provide an opportunity to observe plant water transport at unparalleled resolution and in real time. These results show that grapevines are capable of repairing embolism on diurnal timescales and give insights into the physiological mechanism by which repair is achieved.

Short Speaker Biography

Brendan Choat obtained his BSc (Hons) in 1997 (JCU) and his PhD in 2003 (JCU). From 2003-2005 he worked as a Post Doctoral Fellow at Harvard University in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology. He held a second Post Doctoral Fellowship in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at the University of California, Davis from 2005-2008. In 2008 he returned to Australia to take up a Research Fellowship at ANU before moving to a Senior Research Lectureship at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (UWS). He is an editor for the PrometheusWiki Project and on the editorial review board of Tree Physiology. In 2010 he was awarded a Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.

Robyn van Heeswijck Lecture

The 2nd Robyn van Heeswijck Lecture will be held on Monday 28th March 2011, 4pm Plant Research Centre, Waite Campus, University of Adelaide

 

Dr Brendan Choat, University of Western Sydney, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment

Water transport and water stress in grapevines: new insights using novel imaging techniques.


For more information please refer to the website.

The audience is invited to stay and talk with the speaker and colleagues over refreshments.