Kolbe and Perez-Losada Published in Scientific Reports

May 22, 2019

Dr Allison Kolbe, a postdoctoral research with the Computational Biology Institute, and Dr Marcos Perez-Losada, a professor with the CBI and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, published an article titled "Bacterial succession and functional diversity during vermicomposting of the white grape marc Vitis vinifera v. Albariño" in Scientific Reports on May 16th, 2019. Winemaking produces millions of tons of grape marc, a byproduct of grape pressing, each year. Grape marc is made up of the skins, stalks, and seeds remaining after pressing. Raw grape marc can be hazardous to the environment due to its low pH and high polyphenol content, but previous work has shown that grape marc can be stabilized via vermicomposting to produce organic fertilizer. The authors utilize 16S rRNA high-throughput sequencing to characterize the bacterial community composition, diversity and metabolic function during vermicomposting of the white grape marc Vitis vinifera v. Albariño for 91 days. Large, significant changes in the bacterial community composition of grape marc vermicompost were observed by day 7 of vermicomposting and throughout the duration of the experiment until day 91. Similarly, taxonomic and phylogenetic α-diversity increased throughout the experiment and estimates of β-diversity differed significantly between time points. Functional diversity also changed during vermicomposting, including increases in cellulose metabolism, plant hormone synthesis, and antibiotic synthesis. Thus, vermicomposting of white grape marc resulted in a rich, stable bacterial community with functional properties that may aid plant growth. These results support the use of grape marc vermicompost for sustainable agricultural practices in the wine industry.