New insights into the ecological interaction between grape berry microorganisms and Drosophila flies during the development of sour rot

Microb Ecol. 2012 Aug;64(2):416-30. doi: 10.1007/s00248-012-0041-y. Epub 2012 Mar 22.


In this work, we studied the ecological interactions between grape berry microorganisms and Drosophila sp. flies involved in sour rot disease during grape ripening. After veráison the total microbial counts of grape berries affected by sour rot increased from about 2 log CFU/g of berries to more than 7 log CFU/g. Berry damage provoked a clear shift in yeast diversity from basidiomycetes to ascomycetous fermentative species. The latter were mostly Pichia terricola, Hanseniaspora uvarum, Candida zemplinina, and Zygoascus hellenicus. However, these species were not able to produce the metabolites characteristic of sour rot (gluconic and acetic acids) in inoculated berries. On the contrary, the acetic acid bacteria Gluconacetobacter saccharivorans produced high levels of these acids, mainly when berries were incubated in the presence of the insect Drosophila sp. Sour rot was not observed when grape bunches were physically separated from insects, even when berries were artificially injured. The wounds made in berry skin healed in the absence of insects, thus preventing the development of sour rot. Therefore, in the vineyard, the induction of sour rot depends on the contamination of wounded berries by a microbial consortium--yeasts and acetic acid bacteria--transported by drosophilid insects which disseminate sour rot among damaged berries. In the absence of these insects, plant defense mechanisms are effective and lead to skin healing, preventing disease spread. Thus, we showed that Drosophila sp. act as a vector for microorganisms associated with grape sour rot disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetic Acid / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Ascomycota / classification
  • Ascomycota / genetics
  • Ascomycota / growth & development*
  • Ascomycota / metabolism
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / growth & development*
  • Bacteria / metabolism
  • Basidiomycota / classification
  • Basidiomycota / genetics
  • Basidiomycota / growth & development*
  • Basidiomycota / metabolism
  • Drosophila / growth & development*
  • Drosophila / microbiology
  • Ecosystem*
  • Fermentation
  • Fruit / microbiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Plant Diseases / microbiology*
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Vitis / microbiology*


  • Acetic Acid

Associated data

  • GENBANK/JN004183
  • GENBANK/JN004184
  • GENBANK/JN004185
  • GENBANK/JN004186
  • GENBANK/JN004187
  • GENBANK/JN004188
  • GENBANK/JN004189
  • GENBANK/JN004190
  • GENBANK/JN004191
  • GENBANK/JN004192
  • GENBANK/JN004193
  • GENBANK/JN004194
  • GENBANK/JN004195
  • GENBANK/JN004196
  • GENBANK/JN004197
  • GENBANK/JN004198
  • GENBANK/JN004199
  • GENBANK/JN004200
  • GENBANK/JN004201