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Type: Thesis
Title: The effect of partial rootzone drying on the partitioning of dry matter, carbon, nitrogen and inorganic ions of grapevines
Author: Du Toit, Petrus Gerhardus
Issue Date: 2005
School/Discipline: School of Agriculture and Wine
Abstract: Partial rootzone drying (PRD) is an irrigation management technique designed to reduce water use in grapevines without a decline in yield, thereby increasing water–use efficiency (measured as t/ML) (WUE). The principle of PRD is to keep part of the root system at a constant drying rate to produce soil-derived signals to above–ground plant organs to induce a physiological response. Major PRD effects include a reduced canopy size and greatly increased WUE with possible improvements in fruit quality. Although we have a good understanding of the hormonal physiology of PRD, little is known on the effect of PRD on partitioning of C, N and inorganic ions such as K. This thesis broadens our knowledge on the effects of PRD on grapevine field performance, growth and dry matter accumulation as well as its effects on physiology and biochemistry. In field experiments over 3 seasons, PRD reduced water use in grapevines without a significant decline in yield. PRD effects included reduced shoot growth and greatly increased WUE. Field–grown Cabernet Sauvignon, where the PRD grapevines were irrigated at half the control rate, and Shiraz where the PRD grapevines were irrigated at same rate as controls, confirmed that PRD is not simply an irrigation strategy that applies less water, rather it alters the way in which the plant responds to its environment, e.g. PRD alters the sensitivity of the stomatal response to atmospheric conditions and significantly influence enzymes that regulate nutrient accumulation and partitioning. PRD did not change the total amount of carbon and nitrogen on a whole plant basis. However, it caused a significant partitioning of carbon and nitrogen towards trunk, roots and fruit at the expense of shoot growth. This change in partitioning occurred as a result of altered activity of the enzymes controlling the assimilation of carbon and nitrogen. PRD significantly reduced nitrate reductase (NR) activity in grapevine leaves, which catalyses the first step in the assimilation of nitrate irrespective of the amount of water applied. The reduction in NR activity is correlated with the development of the PRD cycle and the associated reduction in stomatal conductance. PRD also significantly altered grapevine sucrolytic enzyme activity that regulate source:sink relationships. PRD showed transient increases in leaf sucrose phosphate synthase (SPS) activity (formation of sucrose) compared to control, but significantly reduced leaf neutral invertase (sucrose cleavage) and leaf starch content in both field and potted experiments. This may indicate an increased photosynthetic capacity and a reduction in its sink strength for sucrose in favor of organs such as fruit and roots. This hypothesis was reinforced by the fact that berries showed significantly higher levels in glucose and fructose early in the season. Berry sugar content and Brix at harvest however was unaffected. Although PRD had no significant effect on berry characteristics at harvest such as Brix and pH, it occasionally reduced per berry K+ content and increased total amino acid concentration that may lead to positive outcomes for wine quality. PRD–treated grapevine roots on the 'wet'– and 'drying'–sides differed greatly in enzyme activity and osmolality. PRD significantly increased osmolality in both wet and drying roots by increasing total osmolyte concentration that may facilitate the movement of water from wet to dry roots. The increases in osmolality were also associated with increased free polyamine production (spermidine and spermine) in PRD roots that may be related to increased root growth and density.
Advisor: Dry, Peter
Loveys, Brian
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture and Wine, 2005
Keywords: grapes metabolism, plant-water relationships, shoots (botany), roots (botany), crop yields, viticulture, water efficiency, irrigation efficiency
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exception. If you are the author of this thesis and do not wish it to be made publicly available or If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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