The aim of the research activities within this WP is to investigate the effects of biochar addition on soil-grapevine water status. Moreover, research activities will be conducted to study the potential role of biochar to enhance the efficacy of N fertilization. The research activities will be conducted by the group of fruit tree ecophysiology and ecosystems at FUB and will be organized in two main experiments.

The first experiment, conducted in open field conditions, will investigate the impacts of biochar addition on soil and on grapevine water status. Research activities will be conducted in collaboration with the Laimburg Research Centre, within the experimental framework described in WP 7. In detail, for each of the 6 foreseen treatments (2 different biochars, activated or not activated with compost plus an untreated control) a continuous monitoring of the soil moisture, together with a periodical analysis of vine water status (measures of leaf water potential, gas exchanges, temperature and fluorescence) will be performed. This information will be considered for the evaluation of the intrinsic water use efficiency (iWUE) that, together with the measurements of soil water status, will be usefully implemented in optimized irrigation programs, specifically developed for biochar-amended vineyards.

The second experiment will be conducted in pot conditions, on explanted adult vines that will be grown on different substrates characterized by biochar and compost used as amendment. Vines will be treated with a labelled N fertilizer. The results of the spectrometric isotopic analysis of 15N concentration in leached solutions and in the different vine’s organs (roots, trunk, branches, shoots and bunches) will describe the overall N-cycle, therefore delivering useful information to be implemented in optimized fertilization programs developed for biochar amended vineyards.