Postharvest physiology of cut flowers

Lucas Cavalcante da Costa, Fernanda Ferreira de Araujo, Wellington Souto Ribeiro, Mirelle Nayana de Sousa Santos, Fernando Luiz Finger


The longevity of cut flowers is limited by their ephemeral nature and by multiple stresses. Impairment in water uptake, depletion of stored carbohydrates, increases in both respiratory activity and ethylene production are signatures of flower senescence. A wide range of techniques is available to extend flower preservation, including the use of flower preservative solutions, ethylene action inhibitors, growth regulators, and control of temperature and flower dehydration. The use of sucrose in pulsing solution, or as a component of vase solution, extends the vase life of flowers by either improving water balance and energy or delaying the senescence via reductions in ethylene biosynthesis. Inhibitors of ethylene production and action affect the longevity by extending the vase life of some ethylene-sensitive flowers. Flowers have intense respiratory activity, which may deplete the limited reserves of carbohydrates in the tissues. Lower temperatures markedly reduce both carbon dioxide concentration and ethylene production as well as its action. However, chilling-sensitive flowers, such as bird-of-paradise, heliconia, orchid, and ginger, cannot be stored below 10 to 13°C due to the intense development of tissue discoloration.


ethylene; water relations; respiration; carbohydrates; temperature

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ISSN: 2447-536X

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