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Improving growth, development of wine grapes


Narrator:            This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California's Kearney Agricultural Center in Parlier, California, are looking at natural compounds in grapes that may affect the growth and development of the vine in a way that's useful for growers. Viticulture expert Matthew Fidelibus says his lab is working with a plant growth regulator called abscisic acid.

Fidelibus:            That's a compound that promotes the coloring of red and black grapes. So, in warm climates that's something that's sometimes lacking ... warm climates actually can suppress the accumulation of pigments. And normally what happens is the grape will start to produce this abscisic acid compound on the onset of ripening and that turns on all the genes related to pigment accumulation. And we've been doing a lot of work with that as a practical tool.

Narrator:            Fidelibus' lab has found that they can help the fruit color better and more quickly.

Fidelibus:           So, that's an example of where the genetic potential was there but the environment is impinging on it, but we can make the grape fully express its genetic potential by supplementing its own cues to perform at its best.

Narrator:            For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.