Professor of Plant Physiology and Viticulture
Technical University of Applied Sciences Bingen
Functions at the Weincampus
Chair of Examination Regulations
Member of the Joint Committee of the Faculties
- Physiology of grapevine and grapes
- Biochemistry of grapevine and grapes
- Grapevine breeding
- Grapevine nutrition
1.) New resistant grape varieties: Defense mechanisms of the grapevine against pests
- Investigation of the resistance mechanisms of new, fungus-resistant grape varieties through molecular, biochemical and microscopic analyzes.
- Development and testing of combined, holistic crop protection strategies to reduce crop protection product input in viticulture.
The pathogens of powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) and downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) are the most dangerous and economically most important pathogens in viticulture worldwide and can cause total failure of the harvest under optimal climatic conditions. Considerable expenditure on fungicides is therefore necessary in viticulture in order to avoid damage from these pathogens. The consumption of fungicides in viticulture far exceeds that in cereals or other crops and urgently needs to be reduced (Eurostat, 2007). One way to reduce the use of fungicides is to increase the cultivation of new, resistant grape varieties (mushroom-resistant grape varieties, "Piwis"). Despite the ecological and economic advantages as well as the now good wine quality of these new grape varieties, only about 2% of the vineyard area in Germany is accounted for by Piwi varieties (source: EU winegrowing register 2011). The reasons for this very small acreage of resistant grape varieties include the still difficult marketing, little oenological experience and the limited scientific knowledge of the resistance properties of the new varieties and the associated adapted crop protection strategies.
Research and approaches:
The aim of the research projects in the working group is to investigate the genetic differences between different resistant and susceptible grape varieties in order to understand the molecular physiology of successful defense and to identify the relevant genes. At the same time, the stability of the different defense mechanisms against different aggressive isolates of the pathogen is examined in order to support the targeted combination of different resistance mechanisms and thus the sustainability of resistance breeding. At the same time, the potential savings in plant protection products for new, resistant grape varieties are being intensively investigated in field trials with different plant protection variants and resistant grape varieties. The results of these studies are intended to provide the winegrowers with well-founded knowledge and strategies and thus recommendations for action in sustainable crop protection for resistant grape varieties, which sensibly reduce the entry of fungicides in viticulture.
2.) Ingredients of the grape and their influence on the quality of the grapes
- Environmental influences (terroir)
- Genetics (varieties) and regulation of metabolic pathways
- Influence of viticultural measures on the quality of the grapes
- Development of practice-relevant methods and parameters for assessing the quality of the grapes
Decisive for the quality of the wine are the valuable ingredients of the grapes, such as aromas, colors and flavors, the content of which is influenced by environmental factors, viticulture measures and the grape variety. Current research projects are investigating the genetic and environmental influences on the synthesis of colors and flavors (flavonoids, stilbenes). Flavonoids and stilbenes are phenolic ingredients in fruits and vegetable products such as wine, fruit juices and tea, which contribute significantly to their quality, color, taste and health-promoting effects. Due to their qualitative properties, these substance classes have great potential for the optimization of various plant products such as wine and fruit juices. In ongoing research projects, the genetic basis as well as the influence of environmental factors and viticultural measures on flavonoid and stilbene biosynthesis are examined. The results of the projects should help to understand the flavonoid and stilbene biosynthesis in grapes and thereby to develop improved vine breeding approaches and adapted cultivation methods that lead to the optimization of the flavonoid and stilbene content in grapes.