Vascular transport into the berry and berry cell vitality: impact on fruit size and composition


Micro CT image of a berry and seeds. This image was acquired in a collaboration with the Nanoscale Organisation and Dynamics Group, Western Sydney University

Fruits, roots and leaves are interconnected by a dynamic vascular system allowing mass transport of essential materials and a means for whole plant communication and integration. Long distance transport via the grapevine’s xylem/phloem network ultimately defines fruit size and composition, impacting yield and wine style.

As the reproductive organ responsible for spreading of seeds, berry development includes the final phase of berry senescence. The change in cell vitality within the berry mesocarp may reflect the progress and the status of berry ripening, and may impact on the connection between the berry and other parts of the grapevine.



Grape vasculature system

The Vascular Transport sub-project will define the mechanisms driving xylem/phloem flow and show how their close connection dictates water, carbohydrate, ion and signal flow to the berry. Metabolomics, transcriptomics and imaging will define the impacts of limitations in vascular transport processes in relation to berry growth, ripening and senescence.

The Cell Vitality sub-project will explore the link between berry cell vitality and potassium, since the potassium ion accumulates into the berry during ripening. The related metabolites and the potential contributors to the change of berry cell vitality will be investigated.


Outputs will help growers improve the quality of grapes and the resulting wines, thereby boosting profitability.

Key outputs from this project

Research Articles

Z Xiao, S Tyerman, T Stait-Gardner, W Price, V Pagay,  L Schmidtke, S Rogiers (2022) Characterisation of internal oxygen concentration of strawberry and blueberry. Functional Plant Biology 50(3), 256-265, DOI 10.1071/FP21259

Z Xiao, S Chin, RG White, AM Gourieroux, V Pagay, SD Tyerman, LM Schmidtke, SY Rogiers (2021) Vascular connections into the grape berry: the link of structural investment to seededness. Frontiers in Plant Science, 12, 662433, DOI 10.3389/fpls.2021.662433

Z Xiao, T Stait‐Gardner, SA Willis, WS Price, FJ Moroni, V Pagay, SD Tyerman, LM Schmidtke, SY Rogiers (2021) 3D visualisation of voids in grapevine flowers and berries using X‐ray micro computed tomography. Australian Journal of Grape & Wine Research, 27 (2), 141-148, DOI 10.1111/ajgw.12480

Z Xiao, KA DeGaris, T Baby, SJ McLoughlin, BP Holzapfel, RR Walker, LM Schmidtke, SY Rogiers (2020) Using rootstocks to lower berry potassium concentrations in Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines. VITIS Journal, 59(3), 117-126, DOI 10.5073/vitis.2020.59.117-126

Industry Reports & Articles

Z Xiao, KA DeGaris, T Baby, SJ McLoughlin, BP Holzapfel, RR Walker, LM Schmidtke, SY Rogiers (2020) How rootstock influences grape potassium, in NSW DPI Grapevine management guide 2020 –21, p 53.

Less K = less acid = less money, Wine Australia RD&E News, 10 Jan 2020.

Technical Note

Project leader

Suzy Rogiers

Research Associates

Zeyu Xiao
(Research Associate)
Charles Sturt University


Yin Liu
(PhD Student)
Charles Sturt University

Other investigators

Leigh Schmidtke
Charles Sturt University

Stephen Tyerman
University of Adelaide

Vinay Pagay
University of Adelaide

Industry partners

AGRFNSW Department of Primary Industries

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