Skip to main content Accessibility help

Physiological responses of grapevines to biodynamic management

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  06 October 2015

Renato Vasconcelos Botelho
Department of Agronomy, State University of Middle Western—Unicentro, R. Simeão Camargo Varella de Sá 03, CEP 85040-080 Guarapuava, Paraná, Brazil.
Roberta Roberti
Department of Agricultural Sciences, School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Viale G. Fanin, 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy.
Paola Tessarin
Department of Agricultural Sciences, School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Viale G. Fanin, 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy.
José María Garcia-Mina
Department of Environmental Biology, University of Navarra, C/Irunlarrea, 1; 31008 Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.
Adamo Domenico Rombolà
Department of Agricultural Sciences, School of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, Viale G. Fanin, 44, 40127 Bologna, Italy.
E-mail address:


A 3-year (2011–2013) field trial was carried out in a mature vineyard (Vitis vinifera L., cv. Sangiovese), planted in 2003, to assess physiological responses of grapevines to biodynamic management. Starting in 2007, the vineyard was managed with organic production protocols in accordance with EC Regulations (834/2007). In 2008, the vineyard (2 ha) was divided in two large plots, with each plot having similar soil physico-chemical properties. One of the plots was managed with organic protocols per EC Regulations and the other with biodynamic practices, consisting of spray application of preparations 500, 500 K, fladen and 501. During the 2011–2013 season, the biodynamic preparations were used at least twice per year, with the exception of 501 that was applied only once in 2013. Concentration of hormones and mineral elements in biodynamic preparations were determined. Biodynamically managed vines showed lower stomatal conductance in all years and lower leaf water potential in 2012. Leaf photosynthetic activity was not influenced by cultivation method. Biodynamic management led to an increase in leaf enzymatic activities of endochitinase (EC, exochitinase (β-N-acetylhexosaminidase, EC and chitin 1,4-β-chitobiosidase) and β-1,3-glucanase (EC, which are typically correlated with plant biotic and abiotic stresses and associated with induced plant resistance. Year effects were observed with 1,3-β-glucanase, whose activity in 2012 was 4.1-fold higher than in 2013. Disease incidence and grape yields were not different between organic and biodynamic treatments. This study provided a strong indication of a stimulation of natural defense compounds in grapes grown under biodynamic cultivation, but subsequent effects on plant protection and productivity require further evaluation.

Research Papers
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below.


Aguirre, E., Lemenager, D., Bacaicoa, E., Fuentes, M., Baigorri, R., Zamarreño, A.M., and Garcıa-Mina, J.M. 2009. The root application of a purified leonardite humic acid modifies the transcriptional regulation of the main physiological root responses to Fe deficiency in Fe-sufficient cucumber plants. Plant Physiology and Biochemistry 47:215223.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Alabouvette, C., Olivain, C., and Steinberg, C. 2006. Biological control of plant diseases: The European situation. European Journal of Plant Pathology 114:329341.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ashwell, G. 1957. Colorimetric analysis of sugars. Methods in Enzymology 3:73105. Boca Raton, Florida, 1999. 304 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bradford, M.M. 1976. A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Analytical Biochemistry 72:248254.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Busam, G., Kassemeyer, H.H., and Matern, U. 1997. Differential expression of chitinases in Vitis vinifera L. responding to systemic acquired resistance activators or fungal challenge. Plant Physiology 115:10291038.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Chaves, M.M., Zarrouk, O., Francisco, R., Costa, J.M., Santos, T., Regalado, A.P., Rodrigues, M.L., and Lopes, C.M. 2010. Grapevine under deficit irrigation: Hints from physiological and molecular data. Annals of Botany 105:661676.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cheng, X. and Baumgartner, K. 2004. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi-mediated nitrogen transfer from vineyard cover crops to grapevines. Biology and Fertility of Soils 40:406412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chérif, M., Asselin, A., and Bélanger, R.R. 1994. Defense responses induced by soluble silicon in cucumber roots infected by Pythium spp. Phytopathology 84:236242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Daayf, F. and Lattanzio, V. 2008. Recent Advances in Polyphenol Research. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, UK, vol. 1, 416 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dann, E.K. and Muir, S. 2002. Peas grown in media with elevated plant-available silicon levels have higher activities of chitinase and β- 1,3-glucanase, are less susceptible to a fungal leaf spots pathogen and accumulate more foliar silicon. Australasian Plant Pathology 31:913.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Datta, S.K. and Muthukrishnan, S. (eds). 1999. Pathogenesis-Related Proteins in Plants. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida, 288 pp.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Demeter International. 2012. International Viticulture Congress, Colmar, France. On line version. Available at Web site (accessed 5 May 2015).Google Scholar
Derckel, J.P., Legendre, L., Audran, J.C., Haye, B., and Lambert, B. 1996. Chitinases of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.): Five isoforms induced in leaves by salicylic acid are constitutively expressed in other tissues. Plant Science 119:3137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Di Marco, S., Osti, F., Calzarano, F., Roberti, R., Veronesi, A., and Amalfitano, A.C. 2011. Effects of grapevine applications of fosetyl-aluminium formulations for downy mildew control on “esca” and associated fungi. Phytopathologia Mediterranea 50(Suppl.):S285S299.Google Scholar
Dixon, R.A. 2001. Natural products and plant disease resistance. Nature 411:843847.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dobrev, P.I. and Kaminek, M. 2002. Fast and efficient separation of cytokinins from auxin and abscisic acid and their purification using mixed-mode solid-phase extraction. Journal of Chromatography A 950:2129.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
EC. 2002. Commission Regulation (EC) No 473/2002 of 15 March 2002 amending Annexes I, II and VI to Council Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs, and laying down detailed rules as regards the transmission of information on the use of copper compounds. Official Journal of the European Union, L 75:2124.Google Scholar
EC. 2007. Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labeling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91. Official Journal of the European Union, L 189:123.Google Scholar
EC. 2012. Commission implementing regulation (EU) No 203/2012 of 8 March 2012 amending Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, as regards detailed rules on organic wine. Official Journal of the European Union, L 71:4247.Google Scholar
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. FAOSTAT. FAOSTAT (Database). Available at Web site (Latest update: 7 Mar 2014) (accessed 5 May 2015).Google Scholar
Fritz, J. and Köpke, U. 2005. Effects of light, manuring and biodynamic horn silica applications on dwarf beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L. var. nanus) on germination characteristics of newly formed seeds. Pflanzenbauwissenschaften 9:5560.Google Scholar
Gao, X., Zou, C., Wang, L., and Zhang, F. 2006. Silicon decreases transpiration rate and conductance from stomata of maize plants. Journal of Plant Nutrition 29:16371647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Giannakis, C., Bucheli, C.S., Skene, K.G.M., Robinson, S.P., and Steele Scott, N. 1998. Chitinase and β-1,3-glucanase in grapevine leaves: A possible defense against powdery mildew infection. Australian Journal of Grape and Wine Research 4:1422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kauffmann, S., Legrand, M., Geoffroy, P., and Fritig, B. 1987. Biological function of ‘pathogenesis-related’ proteins: Four PR proteins of tobacco have 1,3-β-glucanase activity. EMBO Journal 6(11):32093212.Google Scholar
Kikkert, J.R., Ali, G.S., Wallace, P.G., and Reisch, B. 2000. Expression of a fungal chitinase in Vitis vinifera L. Merlot and Chardonnay plants produced by biolostic transformation. Acta Horticolturae 528:297303.Google Scholar
Koepf, H., Schaumann, W., and Haccius, M. 2001. Agricoltura Biodinamica: Antroposofica Editrice Antroposofica srl, Milan, 368 pp.Google Scholar
Koepf, H.H. 1989. The Biodynamic Farm. Anthroposophic Press, Hudson, New York.Google Scholar
Kokornaczyk, M.O., Parpinello, G.P., Versari, V., Rombolà, A.D., and Betti, L. 2014. Qualitative discrimination between organic and biodynamic Sangiovese red wines for authenticity. Analytical Methods 6:74847488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kuć, J. 2001. Concepts and direction of induced systemic resistance in plants and its application. European Journal of Plant Pathology 107:712.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Laghi, L., Versari, A., Marcolini, E., and Parpinello, G.P. 2014. Metabolomic investigation by 1H-NMR to discriminate between red wines from organic and biodynamic grapes. Food and Nutrition Sciences 5(1):5259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Legrand, M., Kauffmann, S., Geoffroy, P., and Fritig, B. 1987. Biological function of pathogenesis-related proteins: Four PR proteins of tobacco are chitinases. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 84:67506754.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lorito, M. 1998. Chitinolytic enzymes and their genes. In Harman, G.E. and Kubicek, C.P. (eds). Trichoderma and Gliocladium, vol. 2. Taylor and Francis, London, pp. 7399.Google ScholarPubMed
Lotter, D.W. 2003. Organic agriculture. Journal of Sustainable Agriculture 21:59128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ma, J.F. and Takahashi, E. 2002. Soil, Fertilizer and Plant Silicon Research in Japan. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
Magnin-Robert, M., Trotel-Aziz, P., Quantinet, D., Biagianti, S., and Aziz, A. 2007. Biological control of Botrytis cinerea by selected grapevine-associated bacteria and stimulation of chitinase and β-1,3 glucanase activities under field conditions. European Journal of Plant Pathology 118:4357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Magnin-Robert, M., Quantinet, D., Couderchet, M., Aziz, A., and Trotel-Aziz, P. 2013. Differential induction of grapevine resistance and defense reactions against Botrytis cinerea by bacterial mixtures in vineyards. BioControl 58:117131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Medrano, H., Pou, A., Tomás, M., Martorell, S., Gulías, J., Flexas, J., and Escalona, J.M. 2012. Average daily light interception determines leaf water use efficiency among different canopy locations in grapevine. Agriculture Water Management 114:410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Miller, M.B. and Bassler, B.L. 2001. Quorum sensing in bacteria. Annual Review of Microbiology 55:165199.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Parpinello, G.P., Rombolà, A.D., Simoni, M., and Versari, A. 2015. Chemical and sensory characterization of Sangiovese red wines: Comparison between biodynamic and organic management. Food Chemistry 167:18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Petit, A.N., Baillieul, F., Vaillant-Gaveau, N., Jacquens, L., Conreux, A., Jeandet, P., Clément, C., and Fontaine, F. 2009. Low responsiveness of grapevine flowers and berries at fruit set to UV-C irradiation. Journal of Experimental Botany 60(4):11551162.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Pfeiffer, E. 1983. Soil Fertility, Renewal and Preservation. The Lanthorn Press, East Grinstead.Google Scholar
Podolinsky, A. 1989. Bio-Dynamic Agriculture Introductory Lectures, Volume II. Gavemer Publishing, Sydney, 173 pp.Google Scholar
Ponzio, C., Gangatharan, R., and Neri, D. 2013. Organic and biodynamic agriculture: A review in relation to sustainability. International Journal of Plant & Soil Science 2(1):95110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rauhut, D. 2009. Usage and formation of sulphur compounds. In König, H., Unden, G. and Fröhlich, J. (eds). Biology of Microorganisms on Grapes, in Must and in Wine. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, p. 181207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Ravaz, L. 1903. Sur la brunissure de la vigne. Les Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences 136:12761278.Google Scholar
Reeve, R.J., Carpenter-Boggs, L., Reganold, J.P., York, A.L., McGourty, G., and McCloskey, L.P. 2005. Soil and winegrape quality in biodinamically and organically managed vineyards. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture 56(4):367376.Google Scholar
Reuveni, M., Zahavi, T., and Cohen, Y. 2001. Controlling downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) in field-grown grapevine with β-aminobutyric acid (BABA). Phytoparasitica 29:29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Salazar-Parra, C., Aguirreolea, J., Sánchez-Díaz, M., Irigoyen, J.J., and Morales, F. 2012. Photosynthetic response of Tempranillo grapevine to climate change scenarios. Annals of Applied Biology 161:277292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Salazar-Parra, C., Aranjuelo, I., Pascual, I., Erice, G., Sanz-Sáez, A., Aguirreolea, J., Sánchez-Díaz, M., Irigoyen, J.J., Araus, J.L., and Morales, F. 2014. Carbon balance, partitioning and photosynthetic acclimation in fruit-bearing grapevine (Vitis vinifera L. cv. Tempranillo) grown under simulated climate change (elevated CO2, elevated temperature and moderate drought) scenarios in temperature gradient greenhouses. Journal of Plant Physiology 174:97109.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Santner, A. and Estelle, M. 2009. Recent advances and emerging trends in plant hormone signalling. Nature 459:10711078.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schmitt, A., Amein, T., Tinivella, F., van der Wolf, J., Roberts, S., Groot, S., Gullino, M.L., Wright, S., and Koch, E. 2004. Control of seed-borne pathogens by microbial and other alternative seed treatments. In Martinez, A. (ed.). Proceedings of the First World Conference on Organic Seed. Challenge and Opportunities for Organic Agriculture and the Seed Industry, July 5–7 2004, Rome, Italy. IFOAM, Bonn, Germany. p. 120123.Google Scholar
Scholander, P.F., Bradstreet, E.D., Hemmingsen, E.A., and Hammel, H.T. 1965. Sap pressure in vascular plants: Negative hydrostatic pressure can be measured in plants. Science 148(3668):339346.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Shan, X., Yan, J., and Xie, D. 2012. Comparison of phytohormone signaling mechanisms. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 15:8491.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Spaccini, R., Mazzei, P., Squartini, A., Giannattasio, M., and Piccolo, A. 2012. Molecular properties of a fermented manure preparation used as field spray in biodynamic agriculture. Environmental Science and Pollution Research 19:42144225.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Stearn, W.C. 1976. Effectiveness of two biodynamic preparations on higher plants and possible mechanisms for the observed response. MSc thesis, Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, 122 pp.Google Scholar
Steiner, R. 1924. Impulsi scientifico spirituali per il progresso dell'agricoltura. Editrice Antroposofica srl, Milano, Italia.Google Scholar
Tamm, L., Thürig, B., Fliessbach, A., Goltlieb, A.E., Karavani, S., and Cohen, Y. 2011. Elicitors and soil management to induce resistance against fungal plant diseases. Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences 58:131137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tomás, M., Medrano, H., Escalona, J.M., Martorell, S., Pou, A., Ribas-Carbó, M., Flexas, J., and Pou, A. 2014. Variability of water use efficiency in grapevines. Environmental and Experimental Botany 103:48157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tronsmo, A. and Harman, G.E. 1993. Detection and quantification of N-acetyl-J-D-glucosaminidase, chitobiosidase and endochitinase in solutions and on gels. Analytical Biochemistry 208:7479.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Trotel-Aziz, P., Couderchet, M., Vernet, G., and Aziz, A. 2006. Chitosan stimulates defense reactions in grapevine leaves and inhibits development of Botrytis cinerea . European Journal of Plant Pathology 114:405413.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Turinek, M., Grobelnik-Mlakar, S., Bavec, M., and Bavec, F. 2009. Biodynamic agriculture research progress and priorities. Renewable Agricultural Food Systems 24:146154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Van Bockhaven, J., DeVleesschauwer, D., and Höfte, M. 2013. Towards establishing broad-spectrum disease resistance in plants: Silicon leads the way. Journal of Experimental Botany 64(5):12811293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Van Loon, L.C., Rep, M., and Pieterse, C.M.J. 2006. Significance of inducible defense-related proteins in infected plants. Annual Review of Phytopathology 44:135162.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Willer, H. and Lernoud, J. 2014. The World of Organic Agriculture: Statistics and Emerging Trends 2014. FiBL and IFOAM Report. Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), Frick, International Federation of Organic Movements (IFOAM), Bonn, Germany, 302 pp.Google Scholar
Zeng, W., Melotto, M., and He, S.Y. 2010. Plant stomata: A checkpoint of host immunity and pathogen virulence. Current Opinion in Biotechnology 21(5):599603.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Full text views

Full text views reflects PDF downloads, PDFs sent to Google Drive, Dropbox and Kindle and HTML full text views.

Total number of HTML views: 18
Total number of PDF views: 203 *
View data table for this chart

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 27th November 2020. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Hostname: page-component-8465588854-pvzfk Total loading time: 1.249 Render date: 2020-11-27T18:45:37.410Z Query parameters: { "hasAccess": "0", "openAccess": "0", "isLogged": "0", "lang": "en" } Feature Flags last update: Fri Nov 27 2020 18:13:04 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time) Feature Flags: { "metrics": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "peerReview": true, "crossMark": true, "comments": true, "relatedCommentaries": true, "subject": true, "clr": false, "languageSwitch": true }

Send article to Kindle

To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Physiological responses of grapevines to biodynamic management
Available formats

Send article to Dropbox

To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Physiological responses of grapevines to biodynamic management
Available formats

Send article to Google Drive

To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Physiological responses of grapevines to biodynamic management
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Your details

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *