Ethylene and the postharvest performance of cut camellia flowering branches
Camellias are potentially appreciated as cut branches due to their deep and bright green foliage with a high number of flower buds. The present research investigated the role of ethylene in postharvest flower and leaf abscission of seven cultivars of Camellia japonica and evaluated the effect of inhibitors of ethylene action on their vase life. Cut flowering branches were shipped from private companies, mimicking a long and short supply chain. Plant materials were treated with commercial Chrysal, gaseous 1-MCP, and 1-MCP included in β-cyclodextrin-based nanosponges and compared to cut branches exposed to exogenous ethylene (1±0.2 μl l-1) for 24 h and control in tap water. Visual checks for symptoms of variation in senescence, flower opening stage, flower abscission, leaf chlorophyll content (SPAD) and gloss, in addition to ethylene production levels were monitored daily. Cut branches placed in tap water lost ornamental value after ca. 5.5 days of vase life and reached complete senescence after about 10 days in all the studied cultivars, regardless of supply chain, with the exception of ‘Il Tramonto’ with 10 and 20 days, respectively. Exogenous ethylene application reduced camellia cut branch longevity in ‘Debbie’ and ‘R.H. Wheeler’, while the other cultivars lasted as long as the control. Anti-ethylene treatments prolonged the vase life only in ‘Korun Koku’ and ‘Il Tramonto’.
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