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Geographical and Cultivar Features Differentiate Grape Microbiota in Northern Italy and Spain Vineyards.

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PubMed ID: 29867854

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Mezzasalma V, Sandionigi A, Guzzetti L, Galimberti A, Grando MS, Tardaguila J, Labra M

Front Microbiol. 2018. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00946

COMMENT: Soil acts as a microbial reservoir for plants, especially concerning underground plant microbiota. In the last 10 years, due to the advances in metagenomics, it has become clearer that plants host a wide array of microorganisms (bacteria and yeasts), most of which are not cultivable and therefore are almost unknown at the taxonomic and metabolic levels. Such interactions with the plant organs influence plant nutrition, development, productivity, and stress responses.

Recent studies have highlighted the role of the grapevine microbiome in addressing a wide panel of features, ranging from the signature of field origin to wine quality. Although the influence of cultivar and vineyard environmental conditions in shaping the grape microbiome have already been ascertained, several aspects related to this topic, deserve to be further investigated.

In this study, the authors selected three international diffused grapevine cultivars (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Sauvignon Blanc) at three germplasm collections characterized by different climatic conditions [Northern Italy (NI), Italian Alps (AI), and Northern Spain (NS)].

The soil and grape microbiome was characterized by 16s rRNA High Throughput Sequencing (HTS), and the obtained results showed that all grape samples share some bacterial taxa, regardless of sampling locality (e.g., Bacillus, Methylobacterium, Sphingomonas, and other genera belonging to Alphaproteobacteria, Gammaproteobacteria, and Actinobacteria). However, some Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) could act as geographical signatures and in some cases as cultivar fingerprint. Concerning the origin of the grape microbiome, this study confirms that vineyard soil represents a primary reservoir for grape associated bacteria with almost 60% of genera shared between the soil and grape.

At each locality, grapevine cultivars shared a core of bacterial genera belonging to the vineyard soil, as well as from other local biodiversity elements such as arthropods inhabiting or foraging in the vineyard. Finally, a machine learning analysis showed that it was possible to predict the geographical origin and cultivar of grape starting from its microbiome composition with a high accuracy (9 cases out of 12 tested samples).

Overall, these findings open new perspectives for the development of more comprehensive and integrated research activities to test which environmental variables have an effective role in shaping the microbiome composition and dynamics of cultivated species over time and space.

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Javier Velasco