“Development of a novel canopy architecture-monitoring app for smartphones and tablet computers”
Dr Sigfredo Fuentes and Dr Roberta De Bei
This project aims to produce an accurate and cheap imaging and analysis tool available to grape growers and researchers to assess automatically spatio-temporal canopy architecture parameters using smartphones and tablet computers with high-resolution cameras and GPS capabilities. Therefore, field measurements can be mapped using GIS techniques. These parameters allow monitoring canopy growth and porosity to assess vigour, water requirements and sunlight transmission to the fruit and renewal zone of the canopy, which are important parameters to obtain grape quality attributes. Mapping capabilities will allow the zoning of different parameters to assess spatial differences of the same. This project is based on early research findings from the Vineyard of the Future (VoF) initiative. All revenues from the app will be reinvested in VoF research projects.
The app will be commercially available in late 2012. This app has the advantage that it can be applied not only for grapevines, but also for a range of other crops and trees, such as apple trees, olive trees, forests, etc.
“lnvestigating the potential role of calcium as a crop protection agent in wine grapes”
Brad Hocking, Dr Rachel Burton, Prof. Steve Tyerman and Dr Matthew Gilliham
This project will investigate the relationships between berry cell wall traits and cell vitality, berry softening, and pathogen susceptibility. It will focus on the role of calcium in berry cell walls at harvest maturity. This will be achieved by examining differences in berry development, cell wall morphology, and calcium utilisation between red, white and table grape varieties. A guiding objective of this work is to develop management strategies for application of calcium in the vineyard to maximise berry strength for resistance to pathogens, dehydration and berry shrivel.
Emerging results indicate that varietal differences in skin cell morphology and skin calcium concentration affect skin strength and that maintenance of post-veraison xylem calcium influx into grapes may help maintain cell wall function and cell vitality. Further research will be conducted to investigate varietal differences in cell wall composition and utilisation of calcium in the cell wall space, and growth trials will investigate the effects of a number of calcium treatments on grape physiology and quality traits.
“Simple quantitative assessment of Sauvignon Blanc impact odorants by HPLC-MS/MS”
Dr David Jeffery and Dr Renata Ristic
Analytical methods have provided great insight into the presence and relevance of wine aroma compounds, enabling greater understanding and control of processes and wine quality. One area requiring greater awareness relates to compounds known as polyfunctional thiols, which provide the characteristic tropical and citrus notes that are important to the quality of Sauvignon Blanc wines, among other varieties. These reactive thiols are extremely potent aroma compounds found at ultra-trace concentrations, thereby requiring sensitive and specialised analytical techniques to determine their concentrations in wine.
The aim of the project is to progress the development of an analytical method which is simple, rapid and sensitive enough to quantify the varietal aroma compounds important to the quality of Sauvignon Blanc wines. Sample derivatisation and analytical techniques are being explored in order to choose an appropriate method for routine analysis of polyfunctional thiols in wine at trace levels. This basic research will provide a foundation for more extensive investigations of Sauvignon Blanc aromas in the future. These activities are especially relevant for improving the competitiveness of Australian wines in domestic and global markets.
Note: HPLC = high performance liquid chromatography and MS = mass spectrometry.