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In the land where the first traces of wine-making date back to 8000 years ago, scholars of the University of Milan have discovered a variety of grapevines with a strong resistance to downy mildew, one of the most serious diseases for these crops. The discovery now paves the way for establishing stronger grape varieties and reducing the use of chemicals. The study is published in Scientific Reports.

The importance of the Caucasus vine for the history of oenology is known. In Georgia, in fact, recent discoveries set at 8000 years ago the first traces of vinification,con uno spostamento di 600-1000 anni indietro rispetto a precedenti ritrovamenti, in particolare in Iran. Now, the results of a research carried out by the University of Milan, published in the Scientific Reports of the group Nature, show that the vine germplasm of Georgian origin possesses unique characteristics in terms of resistance to diseases and in particular to the most important disease of the vine, the downy mildew of wine.

Vitis vinifera varietà Mgaloblishvili (Georgia)_2

The research, funded by the University research development plan, coordinated by Silvia Toffolatti and Gabriella De Lorenzis, researchers from the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (DiSAA) of the State University led to the discovery of a rare system of defense against the downy mildew in the variety of Vitis vinifera Mgaloblishvili. The discovery now paves the way for the establishment of varieties of disease-resistant vineand at the same time suitable for producing quality wines. They will contribute to reducing the use of anti-asthosporic chemicals which, up to now, represent the main source of environmental pollution in the sector.

The researchers explain: “ the publication must be considered one of the most important results obtained from the ten-year collaboration in the field of protection and promotion of genetic resources of the vine undertaken in several international projects, including the COST action FA1003 (East-West Collaboration for Grapevine Diversity Exploration and Mobilization of Adaptive Traits for Breeding) coordinated by Prof Osvaldo Failla (DiSAA) between 2010 and 2014.

Moreover, the obtained results are part of the researches carried out at DiSAA to find suitable solutions to overcome the challenges of modern viticulture (sustainability and climate change) and that currently focus on the search for varieties capable of defending themselves from other plant diseases, in some cases, incurable”.

The study resulted from the collaboration of researchers from the Department of Biosciences, of the scholars of the Edmund Mach Foundation (FEM) of San Michele all'Adige (TN) and of David Maghradze, researcher of the Scientific Research Center of Agriculture and of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences and Biosystems Engineering of the Georgian Technical Universityof Tbilisi.

Link to the research: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-30413-w

CONTACTS: Silvia Laura Toffolatti (02 50316776) e Gabriella De Lorenzis (02 50316557), Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (DiSAA)




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