The European table and wine grape Vitis vinifera contains high levels of tannins and phenols, which interfere with cell culture. These compounds oxidise quickly and promote the decay of grape cells. A group of scientists in Israel have shown that the addition of anti-oxidants like polyvinylpolypyrolidone and dithiothrietol, helps overcome the oxygen stress which results in the death of grape tissue cultures. It has now become possible to genetically engineer grape with resistance against a number of viral and fungal infections, by far the most difficult problems facing viticulture (Nature Biotechnology, Vol 14, No 5).
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