In several cultivation areas, grapevine can suffer from Fe chlorosis due to the calcareous and alkaline nature of soils. This plant species has been described to cope with Fe deficiency by activating Strategy I mechanisms, hence increasing root H+ extrusion and ferric-chelate reductase activity. The degree of tolerance exhibited by the rootstocks has been reported to depend on both reactions, but to date, little emphasis has been given to the role played by root exudate extrusion. We studied the behaviour of two hydroponically-grown, tolerant grapevine rootstocks (Ramsey and 140R) in response to Fe deficiency. Under these experimental conditions, the two varieties displayed differences in their ability to modulate morpho-physiological parameters, root acidification and ferric chelate reductase activity. The metabolic profiling of root exudates revealed common strategies for Fe acquisition, including ones targeted at reducing microbial competition for this micronutrient by limiting the exudation of amino acids and sugars and increasing instead that of Fe(III)-reducing compounds. Other modifications in exudate composition hint that the two rootstocks cope with Fe shortage via specific adjustments of their exudation patterns. Furthermore, the presence of 3-hydroxymugenic acid in these compounds suggests that the responses of grapevine to Fe availability are rather diverse and much more complex than those usually described for Strategy I plants.
- Fe acquisition
- grapevine rootstocks