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1.  Comparison of three approaches to model grapevine organogenesis in conditions of fluctuating temperature, solar radiation and soil water content 
Annals of Botany  2010;107(5):729-745.
Background and Aims
There is increasing interest in the development of plant growth models representing the complex system of interactions between the different determinants of plant development. These approaches are particularly relevant for grapevine organogenesis, which is a highly plastic process dependent on temperature, solar radiation, soil water deficit and trophic competition.
Methods
The extent to which three plant growth models were able to deal with the observed plasticity of axis organogenesis was assessed. In the first model, axis organogenesis was dependent solely on temperature, through thermal time. In the second model, axis organogenesis was modelled through functional relationships linking meristem activity and trophic competition. In the last model, the rate of phytomer appearence on each axis was modelled as a function of both the trophic status of the plant and the direct effect of soil water content on potential meristem activity.
Key Results
The model including relationships between trophic competition and meristem behaviour involved a decrease in the root mean squared error (RMSE) for the simulations of organogenesis by a factor nine compared with the thermal time-based model. Compared with the model in which axis organogenesis was driven only by trophic competition, the implementation of relationships between water deficit and meristem behaviour improved organogenesis simulation results, resulting in a three times divided RMSE. The resulting model can be seen as a first attempt to build a comprehensive complete plant growth model simulating the development of the whole plant in fluctuating conditions of temperature, solar radiation and soil water content.
Conclusions
We propose a new hypothesis concerning the effects of the different determinants of axis organogenesis. The rate of phytomer appearance according to thermal time was strongly affected by the plant trophic status and soil water deficit. Futhermore, the decrease in meristem activity when soil water is depleted does not result from source/sink imbalances.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcq173
PMCID: PMC3077974  PMID: 20852307
Thermal time; trophic competition; axis organogenesis; soil water deficit; plant growth models; phenotypic plasticity; grapevine; Vitis vinifera
2.  Are the common assimilate pool and trophic relationships appropriate for dealing with the observed plasticity of grapevine development? 
Annals of Botany  2009;105(2):233-247.
Background and Aims
Models based on the consideration of plant development as the result of source–sink relationships between organs suffer from an inherent lack of quantification of the effect of trophic competition on organ growth processes. The ‘common assimilate pool theory’ underlying many such models is highly debatable.
Methods
Six experiments were carried out in a greenhouse and outdoors with two grapevine cultivars and with 12 management systems, resulting in different types of plant architecture. Ten variables were used to quantify the impact of variations in assimilate supply and topological distances between sources and sinks on organogenesis, morphogenesis and biomass growth.
Key Results
A hierarchy of the responses of these processes to variations in assimilate supply was identified. Organ size seemed to be independent of assimilate supply, whereas both organogenesis and biomass growth were affected by variations in assimilate supply. Lower levels of organ biomass growth in response to the depletion of assimilate supplies seemed to be the principal mechanism underlying the plasticity of plant development in different environments. Defoliation or axis ablation resulted in changes in the relationship between growth processes and assimilate supply, highlighting the influence of non-trophic determinants. The findings cast doubt on the relevance of ‘the common assimilate pool theory’ for modelling the development of grapevine.
Conclusions
The results of this study suggest new formalisms for increasing the ability of models to take plant plasticity into account. The combination of an ecophysiological model for morphogenesis taking environmental signals into account and a biomass driven model for organogenesis and biomass allocation taking the topological distances between the sources and the sinks into account appears to be a promising approach. Moreover, in order to simulate the impact of agronomic practices, it will be necessary to take into account the non-trophic determinants of plant development such as hormonal signaletics.
doi:10.1093/aob/mcp278
PMCID: PMC2814752  PMID: 19946042
Biomass growth; branching system; common assimilate pool; morphogenesis; organogenesis; source–sink; grapevine; Vitis vinifera

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