Direct in situ measurement of cell turgor in grape (Vitis vinifera L.) berries during development and in response to plant water deficits

Plant Cell Environ. 2006 May;29(5):993-1001. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2006.01496.x.


Vitis vinifera L. berries are non-climacteric fruits that exhibit a double-sigmoid growth pattern, and at the point known as 'veraison', which is just before the beginning of the second period of rapid fruit growth, these berries undergo several abrupt physiological changes. Cell pressure probe was used to examine the in situ turgor (P) of cells in the mesocarp during berry development and in response to plant water deficits. Initial tests comparing attached and detached berries demonstrated that cell P was stable for up to 48 h after detachment from the vine, provided that water loss from the berry was prevented. Cell P at pre-dawn was on the order of 0.25 MPa pre-veraison (PreV) and was reduced by an order of magnitude to 0.02 MPa post veraison (PostV). Cell P declined slightly but significantly with depth from the berry surface PreV, but not PostV. When water was withheld from potted vines, cell P declined about 0.2 Mpa, as pre-dawn vine water potential declined about 0.6 MPa over 12 d, whereas cell P was completely insensitive to a 1.10 MPa decrease in pre-dawn vine water potential after veraison. Rewatering of stressed plants also resulted in a 24 h recovery of cell P before, but not after veraison. The substantial decline in cell P around veraison is consistent with the decline in berry firmness that is known to occur at this time, and the PostV insensitivity of P to changes in vine water status is consistent with current hypotheses that the PostV berry is hydraulically isolated from the vine. The fact that a measurable P of about 0.02 MPa and typical cell hydraulic/osmotic behaviour were exhibited in PostV berries, however, indicates that cell membranes remain intact after veraison, contrary to many current hypotheses that veraison is associated with a general loss of membrane function and cellular compartmentation in the grape berry. We hypothesize that cell P is low in the PostV berry, and possibly other fleshy fruits, because of the presence of regulated quantities of apoplastic solutes.

MeSH terms

  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Vitis / growth & development*
  • Vitis / metabolism
  • Water / metabolism*


  • Water