Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Grey rot detection kit for winemakers

Grey rot infections can cause wine grape losses of 15–40 % annually, at a cost of EUR 15 billion. New research has resulted in a quick and effective kit to diagnose infections on the vine before the harvest is negatively affected.
Grey rot detection kit for winemakers
Grey rot, caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea (B. cinerea), can be detected by expensive and time-consuming laboratory analysis. Once detected, however, it is usually too late to save the affected grapes, and the pathogen is extremely resistant to fungicides.

The project SAFEGRAPE was funded by the EU to develop a simple, cheap device to detect the presence of B. cinerea in grape juice. It can be used both as a portable device in the vineyard and as part of the industrial wine production pipeline.

Researchers chose to use a biosensor for the detection of laccase, an enzyme produced by the fungus. The portable version required electronic systems for data processing, and the automated industrial device required several additional mechanical systems.

Project scientists succeeded in designing and building several prototypes. These were tested in the laboratory, the processing plant and the field, and were demonstrated to work as designed. Researchers also identified the limits of detection, as well as optimal working conditions for the device.

The SAFEGRAPE prototypes are now ready for commercialisation. The device is expected to improve the quality and yield of harvests, and should help to decrease the use of fungicides and sulphites in winemaking.

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