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The effects of water deficit and particle film technology interactions on Cabernet Sauvignon grape composition

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Regulated deficit irrigation (RDI) has been shown to increase water use efficiency and improve wine quality. In Australia, RDI is commonly practiced in irrigated regions with warm climates and low rainfall, often where periods of heat stress may occur during the deficit irrigation period. The aim of this study was to assess the effect of particle film technology (PFT) for lowering the leaf temperature relative to ambient temperature, resulting in cooler leaves during the period of deficit irrigation and to assess it's effects on Cabernet Sauvignon grape composition at harvest. Experiments were conducted in a commercial vineyard in the Sunraysia region (Australia) over two seasons, 2004 and 2005. Three irrigation treatments were imposed, an RDI and a prolonged deficit treatment (PD) which were compared to an industry standard drip irrigation practice. PFT was applied shortly after the initiation of RDI. PFT treatments were imposed onto the irrigation treatments and were described as non-PFT (i.e. no PFT, effect of irrigation) and plus-PFT (effect of PFT). Plus-PFT treatments resulted in lower canopy temperatures (season 2004). No significant interaction with deficit irrigation and PFT application was found. Plus-PFT treatments did not impact on yield, berry weight or pH of berry juice at harvest. Plus-PFT increased berry juice organic acid concentrations, tartaric, malic and citric acid along with increases to sucrose and glucose concentrations. Effects on anthocyanin and phenolic concentrations were more sensitive to seasonal impacts than to plus-PFT. Interestingly, the mean January temperatures for the respective seasons were average (in 2004) or up to 1°C below the 58-year average (in 2005). Implementing deficit irrigation and PFT strategies can have impacts on berry quality indicators and may be more significant in seasons where January temperatures are above average.
Cooley, N.M. , Clingeleffer, P.R. , Walker, R.R. , Glenn, D.M.
Paper presented at the Fifth International Symposium on Irrigation of Horticultural Crops, held August 18-September 2, 2006, Mildura, Australia.
Acta horticulturae 2008 June, no. 792
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
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