Not just shrivelling: time-series profiling of the biochemical changes in Corvina (Vitis vinifera L.) berries subjected to post-harvest withering

Asfaw Degu, Darren C.J. Wong, Gian Maria Ciman, Francesco Lonardi, Fulvio Mattivi, Aaron Fait

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The grape berry withering process is often seen as a means to concentrate the constituents of the berry via water removal, however, recent molecular studies have indicated that the reprogramming of biosynthetic pathways that impart the unique aroma and flavour of the final wine also occur. Metabolic analysis was performed using GC-MS and LC-MS on Corvina berry dehydrated for up to 108 days. The temporal pattern of metabolic changes and time-series relationship between various classes of metabolites were investigated on berries sampled at 23-time points. Principal component analysis of both GC-MS and LC-MS datasets revealed three distinct phases of post-harvest withering; early (day 0–28), mid (day 35–66) and late (day 69–108) stages. Stress-associated amino acids such as proline, serine, ethanolamine, and leucine accumulated significantly during the mid and late stages of the drying process while phosphorylated glucose and fructose, sucrose, kestose and resveratrol increased massively across time. Unlike most of the identified metabolites, low molecular weight flavanols exhibited a consistent pattern of decline during the withering period. Our network analysis revealed that increased metabolic network connectivity occurred during the middle stage of withering, thus reflecting more coordinated metabolite changes while reduced network connectivity at early and late stages indicates minimal metabolite perturbation during these stages. The current prolonged berry withering experiment revealed the timing of metabolite interconversions in the central metabolism and provided critical clues that link the concentration effect, protein degradation, and the onset of stress-like conditions in drying berries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-129
Number of pages15
JournalOeno One
Issue number2
StatePublished - 22 Apr 2021


  • Amarone
  • Berry metabolism
  • Berry withering
  • GC-MS
  • LC-MS


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