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Scientia Agricola

versão On-line ISSN 1678-992X

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FERLITO, Filippo et al. Early defoliation effects on water status, fruit yield and must quality of ‘Nerello mascalese’ grapes. Sci. agric. (Piracicaba, Braz.) [online]. 2020, vol.77, n.6, e20190025.  Epub 24-Jan-2020. ISSN 1678-992X.  https://doi.org/10.1590/1678-992x-2019-0025.

The effect of basal zone defoliation on vines influences yield and ripening depending on the phenological stage and its intensity. Early basal defoliation (EBD) was carried out at flowering on the autochthonous Vitis vinifera (L.) cultivar ‘Nerello mascalese’ grown on the eastern slopes of Mount Etna, Sicily. The effects were evaluated over a two-year period. In the first year, the canopy retained 67 % of its original leaf area after EBD and in the second year, 58 %. Compared with control vines, mid-day leaf water potentials in the EBD vines enjoyed higher water status throughout the growing seasons in both years. EBD had no significant negative effects on yield but did have significant positive effects on the levels of total polyphenols, total flavonols and total anthocyanins. Yield and its components are conditioned by a number of factors mainly linked to climate and to the vines’ general condition during berry growth and ripening. Even after two consecutive years of treatment, EBD does not have any negative effects on yield. However, EBD does have strong positive effects on berry quality attributes as a consequence of the following: greater exposure of the cluster to sunlight, higher vine water status and avoidance of high temperature stresses in the last phase of ripening during the analysis of anthocyanin.

Palavras-chave : Vitis vinifera (L.); photosynthesis; canopy; sustainability; berry quality.

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