New Discovery to Accelerate Development of Salt-Tolerant Grapevines—23 November 2017

Australian Research Council (ARC) researchers have recently made a discovery that is likely to improve the sustainability of the Australian wine sector and significantly accelerate the breeding of more robust salt-tolerant grapevines.

With additional funding from Wine Australia, a team of scientists from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology at The University of Adelaide and CSIRO Agriculture and Food, identified genes expressed in grapevine roots that limit the amount of sodium—a key component of salt—that reaches berries and leaves.

While low levels of salt can improve the flavour of wine, in excess it can lead to unpalatable tastes, reduce fruit yield and damage the long-term health of grapevines—it is a problem experienced in premium wine regions around the world. In Australia’s broader agriculture, food and wine sectors, issues caused by salinity have been estimated to cost in excess of $1 billion each year.

The discovery will allow the scientists to develop genetic markers that can be used to breed more salt-tolerant grapevine rootstocks, allowing new genotypes to be screened at the seedling stage rather than through lengthy and expensive field-based vineyard trials.

The research has been published in the journal New Phytologist.

Media issued by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Plant Energy Biology. 


Image: The common grapevine.
Source: H. Zell (Wikimedia)


Original Published Date: 
Thursday, November 23, 2017