Can Satellite Remote Sensing Assist in the Characterization of Yeasts Related to Biogeographical Origin?

Castrillo, David; Blanco, Pilar; Vélez, Sergio


Biogeography is a key concept associated with microbial terroir, which is responsible for the differentiation and uniqueness of wines. One of the factors influencing this microbial terroir is the vegetation, which in turn is influenced by climate, soil, and cultural practices. Remote sensing instruments can provide useful information about vegetation. This study analyses the relationship between NDVI, calculated using Sentinel-2 and Landsat-8 satellite images of different veraison dates, and microbial data obtained in 2015 from 14 commercial (organic and conventional) vineyards belonging to four Designations of Origin (DOs) from Galicia (northwest Spain). Microbial populations in grapes and musts were identified using PCR techniques and confirmed by sequencing. Statistical analyses were made using PCA, CCA, TB-PLS, and correlation analyses. This study confirms that the NDVI is positively correlated with the diversity of yeasts, both in grapes’ surface and must samples. Moreover, the results of this study show: (i) Sentinel-2 images, as well as Landsat-8 images, can establish differences in NDVI related to yeast terroir in grapes and musts, as it is the most relevant DO factor, (ii) Sentinel-2 NDVI and yeast biogeography are moderately to strongly correlated, (iii) Sentinel-2 achieved a better delimitation of the DOs than Landsat-8 and can establish more accurate differences in NDVI–yeast terroir correlations, and (iv) a higher NDVI was associated with the yeast biogeographical patterns of the DOs with higher species richness (S) consisting of weakly fermenting yeasts (Hanseniaspora uvarum, Pichia spp., Starmerella bacillaris, and Zygosaccharomyces spp). However, NDVI values did not correlate well with biogeographic patterns of yeasts previously studied at frequency level (proportion or percentage of each species) in each particular DO. This study suggests that satellite imagery has the potential to be a valuable tool for wine quality management and a decision-making instrument for DO regulators and winegrowers.