A novel system for evaluating drought-cold tolerance of grapevines using chlorophyll fluorescence. BMC Plant Biology, 2015, 15:82

Lingye Su, Zhanwu Dai , Shaohua Li* and Haiping Xin*


Background: Grape production in continental climatic regions suffers from the combination of drought and cold stresses during winter. Developing a reliable system to simulate combined drought–cold stress and to determine physiological responses and regulatory mechanisms is important. Evaluating tolerance to combined stress at germplasm level is crucial to select parents for breeding grapevines.

Results: In the present study, two species, namely, Vitis amurensis and V. vinifera cv. ‘Muscat Hamburg’, were used to develop a reliable system for evaluating their tolerance to drought–cold stress. This system used tissue ?cultured grapevine plants, 6% PEG solution, and gradient cooling mode to simulate drought–cold stress. V. amurensis had a significantly lower LT50 value (the temperature of 50% electrolyte leakage) than ‘Muscat Hamburg’ during simulated drought–cold stress. Thus, the former had higher tolerance than the latter to drought–cold stress based on electrolyte leakage (EL) measurements. Moreover, the chlorophyll fluorescence responses of V. amurensis and ‘Muscat Hamburg’ were also analyzed under drought–cold stress. The maximum photochemical quantum yield of PS II (Fv/Fm) exhibited a significant linear correlationship with EL. The relationship of EL with Fv/Fm in the other four genotypes of grapevines under drought–cold stress was also detected.

Conclusions: A novel LT50 estimation model was established, and the LT50 values can be well calculated based on Fv/Fm in replacement of EL measurement. The Fv/Fm–based model exhibits good reliability for evaluating the tolerance of different grapevine genotypes to drought–cold stress.