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By Jane Koropsakshare:

University of California, Davis, Scientist Christine Stockert to Give Talk on "Better Wine with X-rays" at Brookhaven Lab, 6/15

Christine Stockert

Click on the image to download a high-resolution version. Christine Stockert

UPTON, NY — University of California, Davis, (UC Davis) scientist Christine Stockert will give a talk entitled “Better Wine with X-rays” at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory on June 15 at 4:30 p.m. in the Hamilton Seminar Room, Bldg. 555. Sponsored by Brookhaven Science Associates, and part of the Brookhaven Women in Science Colloquia series, the event is free and open to the public. All visitors to the Laboratory age 16 and older must bring a photo I.D.

Plant virus infections often create symptoms that mimic nutrient deficiencies, such as phosphorous, potassium, or magnesium. One such virus is the newly discovered “red blotch disease” that causes irregular red blotches on California red wine varieties. Symptoms begin to appear in late August on the basal leaves of the plant shoots, preventing full maturation of the fruits. The low sugar and acidity levels in the fruit of infected plants lead to wines with reduced fruit character and a thinner mouthfeel. There is no cure for the disease, and the recommendation is to replant, which is a costly solution. Stockert will discuss how the use of x-rays may help growers to prolong the life of infected vineyards until they can afford to replant.

Stockert uses state-of-the-art x-ray technology at the Stanford Synchrotron Laboratory to determine mineral nutrient patterns and concentrations in virus infected grapevine leaves. In her studies she has determined that potassium levels are disrupted in the leaves of infected plants. By supplementing infected grapevines with potassium, it may be possible to mitigate the negative effects on fruit quality so that winemakers can still use the grapes to produce good wine.

Stockert earned her B.S. in biochemistry and her M.S.in horticulture and agronomy from UC Davis. Her Ph.D. work focuses on investigating nutrient transport and cycling, soil and climate change, vineyards, wine fermentation dynamics, and viruses in grapevines. Stockert says she hopes to inspire young women to consider careers in science.

Call (631) 344-2345 for more information.

Media Contacts: Jane Koropsak, jane@bnl.gov, (631) 344-4909, or Peter Genzer, genzer@bnl.gov, (631) 344-3174.

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