A very special grape
Feb 22, 2012
This story focuses on a grape that thrives in some of Missouri’s toughest conditions, and how researchers are studying this grape in hopes it can help them learn how to better develop food for the future in the state.
When it comes to wine, the Norton grape has its admirers. But qualities other than taste are bringing Missouri’s state grape to the attention of science. University of Missouri researchers, together with scientists at Missouri State University and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis, are investigating the genes that make Norton grapes resistant to fungal pathogens that can plague other varieties of wine grapes.
Norton is a very special grape, said Walter Gassmann, a plant pathologist with the Interdisciplinary Plant Group at the University of Missouri. “Missouri is hot and humid, perfect conditions for fungal pathogens, and yet this grape variety thrives here.”
A cultivar of Vitis aestivalis, Norton’s unique ability to defend itself against fungal diseases has been known for some time. How exactly it is able to defend itself, however, is what Gassmann and his collaborators are hoping to discover. More…