Abscission in Grapes

Table Grapes


Cell-cell adhesion and separation in Arabidopsis

Much of the focus of the Patterson laboratory during the last decade has been the characterization of the abscission zone in numerous plant species and the identification and characterization of genes that regulate cell separation, using floral organ abscission in Arabidopsis as a model system. The anatomically distinct band of small densely cytoplasmic cells located at the region of cell separation can be referred toas the abscission zone (AZ) and these cells have distinct morphological characteristics. In some plants the fruit abscission zone is composed of lignified cells in the valve and vasculature that surround a non-lignified separation layer. Several studies have shown that the structure of the abscission zone and the process of shattering are similar between Arabidopsis and many plant species. The lab uses a variety of techniques including scanning electron microscopy (SEM), breakstrength, light microscopy, in situ hybridization, and expression of molecular markers in the characterization of novel mutants that the laboratory has isolated.

Characterization of Abscission in Cold Hardy Grape

In Arabidopsis the developing silique (fruit) does not abscise; however in Vitis spp. many varieties ultimately drop their fruit before ripening. We have developed several new research projects that will characterize the fruitlet abscission process in both cold hardy table and wine grapes (Vitis riparia). Specifically we will determine ethylene production and gene regulation during fruit development and ripening. These studies will demonstrate whether there is a strong correlation of ripening, fruit quality and color development with ethylene responses. Understanding these changes will assist us in the identification of physiological markers associated with ripening in new Wisconsin cold-hardy grapes that could be easily used by growers. This should ultimately contribute to improved sustainable management practices, improved yields and improved quality.

Identification and Characterization of Cold Hardy Seedless Table Grape Cultivars for Wisconsin

In collaboration with the West Madison Agricultural Research Station (WMARS), we will assist in the characterization and evaluation of cold hardy seedless table grapes for Wisconsin. Pruning training and management practices will also be evaluated for impact on winter bud damage, yield and fruit quality.

Morphological and Physiological Characterization of Rosehips in Native American Rosa spp.

Four species of native American roses are being characterized for yield, fruit quality, and phytochemical composition. Rose hips are considered to be high in healthful antioxidants and other phytochemicals that may reduce inflammation from arthritis and may help manage diabetes. Most research has been done with one subsection of Eurasian roses, the Dog Roses. This research will help to identify which North American roses may be valuable as edible native plants in their landscapes.