Will the creeper sent to space be resistant to heat and disease?

Faced with global warming, which promises New Aquatine to feel the climate of Seville in a few years, the vine is particularly exposed. Changes have already been observed, such as earlier flowering and harvesting periods, an increase in alcohol content গবেষণা research programs and experiments are multiplying in an effort to find a suitable response.

The prize for the most innovative program, and perhaps the most expensive, undoubtedly goes to start-up space Cargo Unlimited, which does not try to find solutions in space and does not do less. With its intelligent mission, the Bordeaux start-up has actually sent creepers to the International Space Station, in an effort to create a new variety that will be more resistant to global warming or disease.

Trees that grow fast

And the first results of this test are believed by Nicholas Gaum, boss of “exciting” Space Cargo Unlimited. Wise Mission sent 12 bottles of Petras Vintage 2000, then 320 creepers – 50% Merlot and 50% Cabernet Savignon – in November 2019, then in March 2020. The consignments were recovered in January 2021, after which 320 vines were transplanted into greenhouses to compare their growth with the remaining 320 vines in the world.

A year and a half later, 320 plants have grown, allowing a new planting campaign in early 2022 to give birth to “thousands of plants.” “We have been able to observe that our space plants grow much faster than the plants that remain on Earth and that they respond appropriately to external aggression.”

Lack of gravity puts considerable pressure on plants

Examples including Mildew, “The disease we don’t know how to treat, without the Bordeaux mixture which is not ideal”, recalls Nicholas Gaum. “We have exposed the leaves of our trees to this disease, as a result of which: 100% of the terrestrial plants have died, while the vast majority of the plants in space have survived. We then selected the surviving trees, which we replaced to see how they would develop. Important details: “The traits acquired by plants in space are permanent: when you cut several roses to create a new variety of rose.”

How to explain this difference? By gravity, or rather the absence of gravity. The idea of ​​the Wise Mission was to actually expose the vine trees to a specific moment of their development, that is, when they are said to be young, in this particular spatial environment, since it is devoid of gravity.

“When you remove an element that is necessary for life as gravity, it puts a lot of pressure on living things, which leads nature to find adaptation techniques,” Nicholas Gaum explains. The plant finds a natural response mechanism for survival, and gains adaptability to low but still catastrophic pressures such as water or temperature pressures, or pathogens such as mild disease. A

Make vines “more resistant to disease and climate change”

Start-up Space Cargo Unlimited further indicates that “more advanced genetic analysis on space vine shoots than the rest of the plant controls on Earth shows mutations in more than 90 genes associated with basic metabolism and the immune response to space vine stems. Waiting for confirmation of these results during outdoor replacement.

These initial results therefore confirm the purpose of the Wise Mission, which is to create vines that are “more resistant to disease and climate change”, especially with less water consuming plants. “However, we are careful, we are halfway through our experiments and will have to wait until the end of the cycle,” Nicholas Gaum warned.

A new planting cycle will actually be necessary to reach a definite conclusion. “For example, we did a thin test on the leaves of the tree but not on the roots, which we are going to do this summer, to go further in the test. A

We must now “ensure the taste qualities of the grapes.”

It will also be necessary to confirm the taste qualities of the grapes provided by the Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grape varieties, most commonly used in Bordeaux, when warming threatens to use other grape varieties. “We are waiting for enough grapes, Nicholas Gaum continues, and we think this year will not be enough to run the vinification, so we will replace next year to ensure its taste qualities, and it is suitable for wine production with all health guarantees. Which is our obsession.

The boss of Space Cargo Unlimited insisted that all these experiments were carried out “in a very supervised, certified laboratory and in a controlled greenhouse”. The start-up has a partnership specifically with ISVV, the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences in Villeneuve-d’Arnon, a suburb of Bordeaux, “one of the largest herbs and wine laboratories in the world.”

Another partnership, which will be crucial for the continuity of the project, is the one signed by Marcia Group, underlining Nicholas Gaum, “the biggest wine nurseryman who provides most of the great castles”. Because it is thanks to him that “we hope to offer our more resistant vines to wine growers.”

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