Chitosan upregulates the genes of the ROS pathway and enhances the antioxidant potential of grapes


Rupesh Singh, Centro de Química de Vila Real

Chitosan is an environmentally-friendly active molecule that has been explored for numerous agricultural uses. Moreover, the mode of action of chitosan remains to be elucidated. The present study assessed the levels of total phenolic compounds, the antioxidant potential, and the expression of reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavenging genes in the berries (skins and seeds), leaves, cluster stems, and shoots upon chitosan application on two red grapevine varieties (Touriga Franca and Tinto Cão). The application of chitosan on the whole vine before and after veraison led to the increased levels of polyphenols, anthocyanins, and tannins in Tinto Cão berries, and polyphenols and tannins in Touriga Franca berries, respectively. CUPric Reducing Antioxidant Capacity (CUPRAC) and Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP) assays indicated an increase in the antioxidant potential of berries. With the exception of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), all the ROS pathway genes tested, i.e., iron-superoxide dismutase (Fe-SOD), copper-zinc-superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn-SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione reductase (GR), glutaredoxin (Grx), respiratory burst oxidase (Rboh), amine oxidase (AO), peroxidase (POD) and polyphenol oxidase (PPO), were found up-regulated in chitosan-treated berries. Additionally; genes responsible for secondary metabolite synthesis, anthocyanin synthesis, and transportation, i.e.,PAL, CHS, F3H, ANR, UFGT, ABCC1, GST, MATE1, were recorded upregulated in qRT-PCR analyses at veraison cessation. Results from the analyses of leaves, stems, and shoots revealed that chitosan not only induced the synthesis of phenolic compounds but also acted as a facilitator for the transfer of polyphenols from the leaves to the berries.