Harpin Proteins Improve Bioactive Compounds Content in Crimson Seedless Table Grape

Pasquale Crupi1, *, Giambattista Debiase1, Gianvito Masi1, Francesca Mangione2, Luigi Tarricone1
1 CREA-VE, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics – Research Centre for Viticulture and Enology, Via Casamassima, 148 – 70010 Turi (BA), Italy
2 SIPCAM Italia S.p.A., Strada Statale Sempione 195, 20016 Pero (MI), Italy

© 2019 Crupi et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the CREA-VE - Council for Agricultural Research and Economics – Research Centre for Viticulture and Enology, Via Casamassima 148 - 70010 Turi (BA) – Italy; Tel: +390808915711; Fax: +390804512925; E-mail:



Frequently, in warm climates such as Mediterranean areas, a red-pink table grape ‘Crimson Seedless’ does not reach a good berry skin color; and an acceptable anthocyanin bioactive compounds content, responsible for the red color of berries. Harpin proteins are biotechnologically developed bio-activators that, if applied on plants during the growing period, trigger the expression of hundreds of genes among which those associated with the biosynthesis of bioactive compounds (such as anthocyanins).


This research aimed at using harpin proteins to test their suitability in improving the grape skin color.

Methods and Materials:

Beta-harpin protein 1% p.a. (400 g/Ha) was applied to ‘Crimson Seedless’ vines three times at the beginning of veraison. Six samplings were carried out for both the treated and control grapes until commercial harvest. In the skin extracts, total and individual anthocyanins content was determined by UV-Vis and RP-HPLC-DAD analyses, respectively.


The collected results confirmed that the application of harpin proteins effectively stimulated the anthocyanin biosynthesis leading to make peonidin-3O-glucoside, cyanidin-3O-glucoside, and malvidin-3O-glucoside values from 2 to almost 10 folds higher in treated grapes than in control grapes (P < 0.05).


Actually, harpin proteins improved the color of the berry skin, leading to a significantly higher concentration of anthocyanins in treated than in control grapes.

Keywords: Anthocyanins, Bioactive compounds, HPLC-DAD, Harpin proteins, PhCO2, Crimson Seedless.