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1.  The impact of high temperatures on Vitis vinifera cv. Semillon grapevine performance and berry ripening 
The heat event that occurred in many parts of Australia in 2009 was the worst on record for the past decade, with air temperatures exceeding 40°C for 14 days. Our aim was to assess the impacts of this heat event on vine performance, including ripening, yield, and gas exchange of Vitis vinifera cv. Semillon grown in a Riverina vineyard. To assess the affect of high temperatures on Semillon grapevines, the vines were covered with a protective layer to reduce radiant heating and were compared with vines exposed to ambient conditions. The heat event had major effects on ripening; reducing the rate of ripening by 50% and delaying harvest ripeness and causing a high incidence of berry shrivel and sunburn. Yield was not affected. Photosynthesis was reduced 35% by the heat event while transpiration increased nearly threefold and was accounted for by increased stomatal conductance. The conclusion of this study was that heat events delayed ripening in Semillon berries and caused a significant reduction in berry quality. Strategies to minimize the radiant load during heat events are required and this study has confirmed a protective layer can reduce canopy temperatures and enhance berry quality.
PMCID: PMC3848316  PMID: 24348494
photosynthesis; rate of ripening; soluble solids concentration; stomatal conductance; transpiration; yield
2.  Modelling leaf photosynthetic and transpiration temperature-dependent responses in Vitis vinifera cv. Semillon grapevines growing in hot, irrigated vineyard conditions 
AoB Plants  2012;2012:pls009.
Grapevines growing in Australia suffer from high temperatures which have major effects on photosynthesis and transpiration. To learn more, gas exchange was measured over several seasons and then modelled across temperatures from 20 to 45°C and validated with independent data.
Background and aims
Grapevines growing in Australia are often exposed to very high temperatures and the question of how the gas exchange processes adjust to these conditions is not well understood. The aim was to develop a model of photosynthesis and transpiration in relation to temperature to quantify the impact of the growing conditions on vine performance.
Leaf gas exchange was measured along the grapevine shoots in accordance with their growth and development over several growing seasons. Using a general linear statistical modelling approach, photosynthesis and transpiration were modelled against leaf temperature separated into bands and the model parameters and coefficients applied to independent datasets to validate the model.
Principal results
Photosynthesis, transpiration and stomatal conductance varied along the shoot, with early emerging leaves having the highest rates, but these declined as later emerging leaves increased their gas exchange capacities in accordance with development. The general linear modelling approach applied to these data revealed that photosynthesis at each temperature was additively dependent on stomatal conductance, internal CO2 concentration and photon flux density. The temperature-dependent coefficients for these parameters applied to other datasets gave a predicted rate of photosynthesis that was linearly related to the measured rates, with a 1 : 1 slope. Temperature-dependent transpiration was multiplicatively related to stomatal conductance and the leaf to air vapour pressure deficit and applying the coefficients also showed a highly linear relationship, with a 1 : 1 slope between measured and modelled rates, when applied to independent datasets.
The models developed for the grapevines were relatively simple but accounted for much of the seasonal variation in photosynthesis and transpiration. The goodness of fit in each case demonstrated that explicitly selecting leaf temperature as a model parameter, rather than including temperature intrinsically as is usually done in more complex models, was warranted.
PMCID: PMC3345123  PMID: 22567220
3.  Reductions in biomass accumulation, photosynthesis in situ and net carbon balance are the costs of protecting Vitis vinifera ‘Semillon’ grapevines from heat stress with shade covering 
AoB Plants  2011;2011:plr023.
Shade cloth can be used to protect grapevines from high temperatures. However, the resulting low light intensity is shown to reduce photosynthesis, leading to lower carbon allocation to vegetative growth and sugar accumulation. Protection from heat by shading is, therefore, costly for the carbon economy of the vines.
Background and aims
Covering whole vines with shade cloth is used to protect the vines from heat stress, but may have costs on vine productivity through reduced light availability. Our aim was to assess the carbon balance of vines growing with and without shade to quantify the impact of the covering.
Whole vines were covered with 70 % shade cloth, and shoot leaf area and leaf, stem and bunch growth were followed over two growing seasons. Photosynthesis was measured in situ in all leaves along selected shoots over the growing season. A carbon balance was constructed from the difference in acquisition of carbon and the sequestration of carbon as biomass across the growing seasons.
Principal results
Shade covering had no initial impact on shoot growth but later reduced leaf growth and later still bunch growth. Stem growth was unaffected. Photosynthetic properties were characteristic of shade leaves, with lower rates and lower light saturation compared with well-exposed leaves. Overall, net photosynthesis was reduced by 40 % by the shade covering and was attributed to the reduced photon flux densities. From the carbon balance, vines were reliant on carbon reserves over 6 weeks after budbreak until current photosynthate increased sufficiently to supply the growth. Shade covering impacted most on biomass accumulation to leaves and bunches at the stage when the vines became autotrophic, consistent with the reduction in carbon acquisition. The markedly high carbon demand by bunches caused a mid-season negative carbon balance, implying that shoots had to draw further on reserves to supply the carbon.
Shade covering over whole grapevines exacerbated the imbalance between the supply of and demand for carbon and greatly reduced vine biomass, especially reproductive allocation. Covering vines with shade cloth to protect the vines from heat events, therefore, had major costs in the carbon economy.
PMCID: PMC3176522  PMID: 22476493
4.  Does night-time transpiration contribute to anisohydric behaviour in a Vitis vinifera cultivar? 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2009;60(13):3751-3763.
The hypothesis that vines of the Semillon wine grape variety show anisohydric behaviour was tested, i.e. that tissue hydration is unstable under fluctuating environmental conditions. Stomatal conductance and transpiration rates from leaves were measured during the day and at night. Leaf water potential (Ψl) in Semillon was negatively correlated to vapour pressure deficit (VPD) both predawn and during the day. Furthermore, Ψl fell to significantly lower values than in any of the nine other varieties examined. Night-time values of stomatal conductance (gn) and transpiration (En) in Semillon were up to four times higher than in other varieties; plants enclosed in plastic bags overnight to reduce En resulted in better plant–soil equilibration so that predawn Ψl in Semillon was the same as in Grenache. These data indicate that the hypothesis is supported, and that night-time transpiration contributes significantly to the low Ψl values in Semillon during warm, dry nights. The other contributing factor is daytime stomatal conductance (gday), which in Semillon leaves was higher than in other varieties, although the decline in gday with increasing VPD was greater in Semillon than in Shiraz or Grenache. The high values of gday were associated with high rates of transpiration (Eday) by Semillon through a day when VPD reached 4.5 kPa. When compared to other varieties, Semillon was not unusual in terms of root length density, stomatal density, xylem sap abscisic acid, or leaf electrolyte leakage. Night-time and daytime water loss and insufficient stomatal regulation therefore account for the tendency to anisohydric behaviour shown by Semillon.
PMCID: PMC2736890  PMID: 19584116
Drought responses; evaporative demand; Semillon; stomatal regulation; water relations
5.  Effects of the Fungal Endophyte, Neotyphodium lolii, on Net Photosynthesis and Growth Rates of Perennial Ryegrass (Lolium perenne) are Independent of In Planta Endophyte Concentration 
Annals of Botany  2006;98(2):379-387.
• Background and Aims Neotyphodium lolii is a fungal endophyte of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne), improving grass fitness through production of bioactive alkaloids. Neotyphodium species can also affect growth and physiology of their host grasses (family Poaceae, sub-family Pooideae), but little is known about the mechanisms. This study examined the effect of N. lolii on net photosynthesis (Pn) and growth rates in ryegrass genotypes differing in endophyte concentration in all leaf tissues.
• Methods Plants from two ryegrass genotypes, Nui D and Nui UIV, infected with N. lolii (E+) differing approx. 2-fold in endophyte concentration or uninfected clones thereof (E−) were grown in a controlled environment. For each genotype × endophyte treatment, plant growth rates were assessed as tillering and leaf extension rates, and the light response of Pn, dark respiration and transpiration measured in leaves of young (30–45 d old) and old (>90 d old) plants with a single-chamber open infrared gas-exchange system.
• Key Results Neotyphodium lolii affected CO2-limited rates of Pn, which were approx. 17 % lower in E+ than E− plants (P < 0·05) in the young plants. Apparent photon yield and dark respiration were unaffected by the endophyte (P > 0·05). Neotyphodium lolii also decreased transpiration (P < 0·05), but only in complete darkness. There were no endophyte effects on Pn in the old plants (P > 0·05). E+ plants grew faster immediately after replanting (P < 0·05), but had approx. 10 % lower growth rates during mid-log growth (P < 0·05) than E− plants, but there was no effect on final plant biomass (P > 0·05). The endophyte effects on Pn and growth tended to be more pronounced in Nui UIV, despite having a lower endophyte concentration than Nui D.
• Conclusions Neotyphodium lolii affects CO2 fixation, but not light interception and photochemistry of Pn. The impact of N. lolii on plant growth and photosynthesis is independent of endophyte concentration in the plant, suggesting that the endophyte mycelium is not simply an energy drain to the plant. However, the endophyte effects on Pn and plant growth are strongly dependent on the plant growth phase.
PMCID: PMC2803460  PMID: 16735403
Lolium perenne; Neotyphodium lolii; perennial ryegrass; grass endophyte; net photosynthesis; tillering rate; leaf extension rate; plant fitness

Results 1-5 (5)