Light quantity and quality modulate grapevine development and influence berry metabolic processes. Here we studied light as an information signal for developing and ripening grape berries. A Vitis vinifera Sauvignon Blanc field experiment was used to identify the impacts of UVB on core metabolic processes in the berries under both high light (HL) and low light (LL) microclimates. The primary objective was therefore to identify UVB-specific responses on berry processes and metabolites and distinguish them from those responses elicited by variations in light incidence. Canopy manipulation at the bunch zone via early leaf removal, combined with UVB-excluding acrylic sheets installed over the bunch zones resulted in four bunch microclimates: (1) HL (control); (2) LL (control); (3) HL with UVB attenuation and (4) LL with UVB attenuation. Metabolite profiles of three berry developmental stages showed predictable changes to known UV-responsive compound classes in a typical UV acclimation (versus UV damage) response. Interestingly, the berries employed carotenoids and the associated xanthophyll cycles to acclimate to UV exposure and the berry responses differed between HL and LL conditions, particularly in the developmental stages where berries are still photosynthetically active. The developmental stage of the berries was an important factor to consider in interpreting the data. The green berries responded to the different exposure and/or UVB attenuation signals with metabolites that indicate that the berries actively managed its metabolism in relation to the exposure levels, displaying metabolic plasticity in the photosynthesis-related metabolites. Core processes such as photosynthesis, photo-inhibition and acclimation were maintained by differentially modulating metabolites under the four treatments. Ripe berries also responded metabolically to the light quality and quantity, but mostly formed compounds (volatiles and polyphenols) that have direct antioxidant and/or “sunscreening” abilities. The data presented for the green berries and those for the ripe berries conform to what is known for UVB and/or light stress in young, active leaves and older, senescing tissues respectively and provide scope for further evaluation of the sink/source status of fruits in relation to photosignalling and/or stress management.
Joubert, C., Young, P. R., Eyéghé-Bickong, H. A., & Vivier, M. A. (2016). Field-grown grapevine berries use carotenoids and the associated xanthophyll cycles to acclimate to UV exposure differentially in high and low light (Shade) conditions. Frontiers in Plant Science, 7(June2016). https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2016.00786