Archive for July, 2009

the Taste of Death…

Cell death research wins best paper award.

Congratulations to Joanne Tilbrook and Stephen Tyerman for their contributions to a paper on Cell death in grape berries that has been awarded Functional Plant Biology’s (FPB) ‘2008 Best Paper 2008 for early-career scientists’.  According to Professor Tyerman of the University of Adelaide, this award winning research shows a previously unidentified stage in grape berry development that will impact on quality and accounts for water loss from berries.

Image of Berry Cell

Image of Berry Cell

Illustration: Varietal differences in cell death in the pericarp of grape berries is linked to the water relations of the berry. The intense green fluorescence is indicative of vital cells. Left image is LS section of a Sultana (Thompson Seedless) berry showing vital cells across the pericarp. The right image is a Chardonnay berry at a similar age and sugar content showing loss of cell vitality (scale = 10 mm). Sections and photography kindly prepared by Wendy Sullivan.

Best Paper Award for FPB 2008 for early-career scientists
Functional Plant Biology and the Australian Society of Plant Scientists announce the award of the best paper for 2008 from an early-career scientist to Joanne Tilbrook. Her paper results from her PhD thesis at the University of Adelaide. “Cell death in grape berries: varietal differences linked to xylem pressure and berry weight loss” by Joanne Tilbrook and Stephen D. Tyerman. Functional Plant Biology 25, 173-184 (2008).

The authors have discovered that cell death occurs in the mesocarp of berries of two wine grape varieties late in development, but before normal harvest date. The onset of cell death corresponds to the beginning of weight loss in the variety that has a higher hydraulic conductance via the pedicel xylem. In contrast, a table grape variety that does not show cell death generates tension in the pedicel xylem. These observations indicate that there are variety dependent strategies of water relations and ripening of grape berries that may be linked to the vitality status of the large mesocarp cells.


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