Carbohydrates and leaf blackening of Protea cut flowers

Meyer, Celeste (2003-12)

Thesis (MScAgric)--Stellenbosch University, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Protea cut flowers are exported worldwide but the vase life of some species and cultivars is considerably shortened by post-harvest leaf blackening. Research has established carbohydrate depletion to be positively correlated with this disorder. Consequently, a study had been made of the carbohydrate status of various species and cultivars, as well as the effect of supplemental glucose (pre and post-storage) on leaf blackening. Glucose, fructose, sucrose and starch concentrations of various Protea species and cultivars held in water were measured at harvest, and again at leaf blackening initiation. All measured carbohydrates declined significantly in 'Carnival', 'Pink Ice' and 'Sheila'. In 'Cardinal' all carbohydrate concentrations decreased significantly, except the sucrose concentration in the inflorescence. 'Susara' and 'Ivy' had very high initial carbohydrate concentrations in the leaves which decreased significantly. The very high initial carbohydrate concentrations in the inflorescence of 'Ivy' declined significantly. 'Brenda' differed from the other cultivars and species in that glucose concentrations increased over time. Carbohydrate concentrations of most of the tested proteas declined significantly from harvest to the initiation of leaf blackening. This highlighted the dependence of the leaves and inflorescence on the carbohydrate reserves, further substantiating the carbohydrate depletion theory. The inflorescences were characterized by high fructose and glucose concentrations and low sucrose concentrations when compared to the leaves. It was hypothesized that glucose pulsing and cold storage at 1°C for three weeks would significantly reduce leaf blackening. 'Brenda', 'Cardinal', 'Carnival', 'Pink Ice', 'Susara ' and 'Sylvia' had significantly less leaf blackening with glucose treatments of 4 and 10%. Leaf blackening of 'Sheila', P. cynaroides and P. grandiceps was not significantly reduced by glucose pulsing. P. magnifica showed a small, but significant, reduction in leaf blackening in response to the 3, 6 and 9% treatments after 10 days only, but despite this, leaf blackening was unacceptably high. 'Pink Ice' harvested at the soft tip stage had less leaf blackening than those harvested open or closed. Toxicity symptoms on the leaves, and in some instances flowers, were observed at higher glucose concentrations (8 and 10%) onP. grandiceps, P. cynaroides, 'Cardinal' and 'Sheila'. All glucose treatments resulted in toxicity symptoms on P. magnifica. A decrease in nonstructural carbohydrates post-harvest apparently occurs in all proteas but it appears that only members of the Ligulatae respond to glucose. Glucose pulsing followed by cold storage at 1°C for three weeks in combination with post-storage glucose vase solutions, significantly reduced leaf blackening of some Protea cultivars. Glucose (1 and 2%), with hypochlorite, significantly delayed leaf blackening in 'Cardinal' and 'Sylvia' after seven days. Leaf blackening of 'Brenda', 'Carnival', 'Pink Ice' and 'Susara' was not significantly reduced by the glucose vase solutions. Other disinfectants, in combination with the sugar treatments, need to be evaluated since the hypochlorite treatment had a dehydrating effect on all the cultivars and resulted in increased leaf blackening. Carbohydrate supplementation of protea flowers with glucose, pre and post-storage, will help meet the post-harvest carbohydrate requirements of certain Protea cultivars and species to an extent. Glucose treatments must be seen in conjunction with maintaining the cold chain and when combined with cold chain maintenance, can extend the storage and vase life.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Protea snyblomme word wêreldwyd uitgevoer alhoewel die vaasleeftyd van sommige spesies en kultivars beduidend verkort word deur na-oes loof verbruining. Navorsing het koolhidraatverbruik positief gekorreleer met hierdie probleem. Gevolglik is 'n studie gemaak van die koolhidraatstatus van verskeie spesies en kultivars asook die effek van addisionele glukose (voor en na opberging) op loofverbruining. Glukose, fruktose, sukrose en stysel konsentrasies van verskeie Protea spesies en kultivars wat in water gehou is, is bepaal met oes en weer met die eerste tekens van loofverbruining. Al die gemete koolhidraatkonsentrasies het beduidend afgeneem in 'Carnival', 'Pink Ice' en 'Sheila'. In 'Cardinal' het al die koolhidraatkonsentrasies beduidend afgeneem, behalwe vir die sukrosekonsentrasie in die blom. 'Susara' en 'Ivy' het baie hoë begin koolhidraatkonsentrasies in die blare wat beduidend afneem. Die baie hoë inisiële koolhidraatkonsentrasies in die blom van 'Ivy' neem beduidend af met tyd. 'Brenda' verskil van die ander kultivars en spesies deurdat die glukosekonsentrasies toeneem met tyd. Koolhidraatkonsentrasies van die meeste getoetste proteas neem beduidend af vanaf oes totdat die eerste tekens van loofverbruining verskyn. Dit het die afhanklikheid van die blare en blom op die koolhidraatreserwes beklemtoon en daardeur verder die koolhidraatteorie ondersteun. Die blomme is gekarakteriseer deur hoë fruktose- en glukosekonsentrasies en lae sukrosekonsentrasies wanneer dit met die blare vergelyk is.Die hipotese is gestel dat die voorsiening van glukose, vir 'n aantal ure, gekombineerd met koue opberging by 1°C vir drie weke loofverbruining beduidend sal verminder. 'Brenda', 'Cardinal', 'Carnival', 'Pink lee', 'Susara' en 'Sylvia' het beduidend minder loofverbruining met glukose behandelings tussen 4 en 10%. Loofverbruining van 'Sheila', P. cynaroides en P. grandiceps is nie beduidend verminder deur glukose behandelings nie. P. magnifica het 'n klein, maar beduidende verlaging in loofverbruining getoon met die 3, 6 en 9% behandelings na 10 dae, maar ten spyte hiervan was loofverbruining onaanvaarbaar hoog. 'Pink lee' is geoes by die sagte punt stadium en het minder loofverbruining gehad as blomme wat oop of toe geoes is. Toksisiteitsimptome op die blare, en in sommige gevalle blomme, is waargeneem met hoër glukose konsentrasies (8 en 10%) op P. grandiceps, P. cynaroides, 'Cardinal' en 'Sheila'. Alle glukosebehandelings het toksisiteitsimptome tot gevolg gehad op P. magnifica. 'n Afname in nie-strukturele koolhidrate na oes kom waarskynlik voor in alle proteas maar dit wil voorkom of slegs lede van die Ligulatae positief reageer op glukose. Glukosebehandeling gevolg deur koue opberging by 1°C vir drie weke in kombinasie met na-stoor glukose vaasoplossings het loofverbruining van sommige Protea kultivars beduidend verminder. Glukose (l en 2%), saam met hipoehloriet, het loofverbruining beduidend verminder in 'Cardinal' en 'Sylvia' na sewe dae. Loofverbruining van 'Brenda', 'Carnival', 'Pink lee' en 'Susara' is nie beduidend verminder deur die glukose vaasoplossings nie. Ander ontsmettingsmiddels in kombinasie met die suikerbehandelings moet geëvalueer word aangesien die hipoehlorietbehandeling 'n dehidrerende effek op al die kultivars gehad het en 'n toename in loofverbruining tot gevolg gehad het. Byvoeging van glukose by proteablomme, voor en na opberging, sal tot 'n mate help om in die na-oes koolhidraatbehoeftes van sekere Protea kultivars en spesies te voorsien. Glukosebehandelings moet saam met die beheer van die koueketting gesien word en wanneer gekombineerd met koueketting beheer kan dit opberg en vaasleeftyd verleng.

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