D’Onofrio - Functional characterisation of aroma biosynthesis during berry development and management of grape aroma quality

Claudio D’Onofrio
Laboratorio di Ricerche Viticole ed Enologiche, Dipartimento di Coltivazione e Difesa delle Specie Legnose “G. Scaramuzzi”, Università di Pisa

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Key words: aroma gene’s, aroma precursors, berry development, GC-MS, gene expression, grape aroma, SPE, SPME.

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Abstract

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Grapevine is one of the most important crops in the world and many research groups have focused their attention on it. The technological potential of a grape variety depends on some compounds derived from secondary metabolism, such as flavanoids and flavour compounds, determining the organolectic parameters used to define wine quality. Grape-derived flavour compounds and some flavour precursors modified during fermentation are produced during berry development and the final mixture depends on variables, which include the grape variety used, the environmental conditions during the growing season, the management of the vineyard and of the ripening stage at the time of harvest. Grape flavour management in the vineyard requires knowledge of the derivation of individual flavour and aroma characteristics and the effects that different concentrations and interactions between these compounds have on flavour potential. Hundreds of secondary metabolites that potentially contribute to wine aroma have been identified in grape berries. The main groups of grape berries flavour metabolites include terpenoids (monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, C13-norisoprenoids), shikimate pathway derivatives (volatile phenols and benzene derivatives), thiols, methoxypyrazines, aliphatic aldehydes and alcohols. Recent technology applications in the field of functional genomics, the massive sequencing of expressed genome sections, the decodification of whole grape genome, together the evolution of techniques for analysis of volatiles, yield many progress in functional characterisation on aroma biosynthesis in berries. The analysis of aroma evolution during the berry development of several varieties achieved many aspects on the influence of cultivation site, light intensity, temperature, leaf removal, abiotic and biotic stresses on the biosynthesis of grape aromas. The analysis of correlation among flavour compounds and gene expression patterns during berry development and in elicited cell suspension is a useful tool for the selection and functional characterisation of genes involved in aroma biosynthesis and it achieved the characterisation of a large number genes involved in terpene, thiols and methoxypyrazines biosynthesis. The above knowledge on grape and wine aroma research, will improve decision making along the chain of production for the management of aroma to improve wine typicity.

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