Metabolomics of Photosynthetically Active Tissues in White Grapes: Effects of Light Microclimate and Stress Mitigation Strategies

A.R. Martins Garrido*, J. Engel, R. Mumm, Artur Conde, A.A. Cunha*, C.H. de Vos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The effects of climate change are becoming a real concern for the viticulture sector, with impacts on both grapevine physiology and the quality of the fresh berries and wine. Short-term mitigation strategies, like foliar kaolin application and smart irrigation regimes, have been implemented to overcome these problems. We previously showed that these strategies also influence the photosynthetic activity of the berries themselves, specifically in the exocarp and seed. In the present work, we assessed the modulating effects of both canopy-light microclimate, kaolin and irrigation treatments on the metabolic profiles of the exocarp and seed, as well as the potential role of berry photosynthesis herein. Berries from the white variety Alvarinho were collected at two contrasting light microclimate positions within the vine canopy (HL—high light and LL—low light) from both irrigated and kaolin-treated plants, and their respective controls, at three fruit developmental stages (green, véraison and mature). Untargeted liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (LCMS) profiling of semi-polar extracts followed by multivariate statistical analysis indicate that both the light microclimate and irrigation influenced the level of a series of phenolic compounds, depending on the ripening stage of the berries. Moreover, untargeted gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) profiling of polar extracts show that amino acid and sugar levels were influenced mainly by the interaction of irrigation and kaolin treatments. The results reveal that both photosynthetically active berry tissues had a distinct metabolic profile in response to the local light microclimate, which suggests a specific role of photosynthesis in these tissues. A higher light intensity within the canopy mainly increased the supply of carbon precursors to the phenylpropanoid/flavonoid pathway, resulting in increased levels of phenolic compounds in the exocarp, while in seeds, light mostly influenced compounds related to carbon storage and seed development. In addition, our work provides new insights into the influence of abiotic stress mitigation strategies on the composition of exocarps and seeds, which are both important tissues for the quality of grape-derived products.
Original languageEnglish
Article number205
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2021


  • Grape berry tissues
  • Irrigation
  • Kaolin
  • Light microclimate
  • Metabolomics
  • Photosynthesis


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