Soil amendment as a strategy for the growth of young vines when replanting vineyards in soils with high copper content

Plant Physiol Biochem. 2018 May;126:152-162. doi: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2018.03.003. Epub 2018 Mar 2.


Soil contamination with copper (Cu)-based agrochemicals used in vineyards for pest control is a growing problem. In this context, the application of soil amendment to limit Cu toxicity, especially for young plants after the replanting of vineyards, has been a concern for winemakers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate how different amendments can contribute to the decrease in Cu availability in areas vocated to viticulture. Furthermore, the aim was to evaluate to the effect of Cu on the biochemical and physiological changes in the development of the young vine plants, both at the shoot and the root level. Vine plants were grown in a greenhouse using a Typic Hapludalf soil characterized by 87.5 mg of Cu kg-1 (control). Three different amendments were applied to the soil: limestone (3 Mg ha-1), calcium silicate (3 Mg ha-1) and vermicompost (30 g of C kg-1). The amendment with vermicompost and calcium silicate caused a significant alkalization of the soil solution. Moreover, specifically for the treatment with vermicompost, the levels of Cu2+ in the soil solution were consistently diminished with a clear benefit for plants (+89% biomass accumulation at the shoot level). In addition, this soil amendment led to a higher photosynthetic rate, lower superoxide dismutase (SOD, EC and guaiacol peroxidase (POD, EC activity and a higher percentage of fine roots with diameter between 0 < L ≥ 0.2 mm (particularly active in water and nutrient acquisition). In conclusion, results showed that vermicompost effectively reduced Cu phytotoxicityin young vines grown in soils with high Cu contents. Furthermore, this amendment might be an asset in enhancing the availability of other important micronutrients such as iron.

Keywords: Antioxidant enzymes; Limestone; Photosynthesis; Photosynthetic pigments; Toxicity; Vermicompost.

MeSH terms

  • Calcium Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Copper*
  • Farms*
  • Silicates / pharmacology*
  • Soil*
  • Vitis / growth & development*


  • Calcium Compounds
  • Silicates
  • Soil
  • Copper
  • calcium silicate