Plant health and sound vibration: Analyzing implications of the microbiome in grape wine leaves

Birgit Wassermann, Lise Korsten, Gabriele Berg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the plant microbiome is a key for plant health and controlling pathogens. Recent studies have shown that plants are responsive towards natural and synthetic sound vibration (SV) by perception and signal transduction, which resulted in resistance towards plant pathogens. However, whether or not native plant microbiomes respond to SV and the underlying mechanism thereof remains unknown. Within the present study we compared grapevine-associated microbiota that was perpetually exposed to classical music with a non-exposed control group from the same vineyard in Stellenbosch, South Africa. By analyzing the 16S rRNA gene and ITS fragment amplicon libraries we found differences between the core microbiome of SV-exposed leaves and the control group. For several of these different genera, e.g., Bacillus, Kocuria and Sphingomonas, a host-beneficial or pathogen-antagonistic effect has been well studied. Moreover, abundances of taxa identified as potential producers of volatile organic compounds that contribute to sensory characteristics of wines, e.g., Methylobacterium, Sphingomonas, Bacillus and Sporobolomyces roseus, were either increased or even unique within the core music-exposed phyllosphere population. Results show an as yet unexplored avenue for improved plant health and the terroir of wine, which are important for environmentally friendly horticulture and consumer appreciation. Although our findings explain one detail of the long-term positive experience to improve grapevine’s resilience by this unusual but innovative technique, more mechanistic studies are necessary to understand the whole interplay.

Original languageEnglish
Article number63
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Grapevine
  • Microbiota
  • Phyllosphere
  • Resilience
  • Synthetic sound vibration
  • Terroir
  • Vitis vinifera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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