Prolonging the Vase Life of Snapdragons and Carnations with a Natural Lipid, Lysophosphatidylethanolamine (LPE)

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  • 1 Dept. of Horticulture, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison WI 53706

Freshly cut snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L) spikes or carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L cv. White Sim) stems were put in LPE (10 ppm for carnation, 25 ppm for snapdragon) solution for 24 hours and then transferred to deionized water. Parallel controls were kept continuously in deionized water. Snapdragon spikes were harvested when they had one-third of the florets opened which is a standard commercial practice. The carnations used in the experiment were harvested at three different stages of flower development starting from open brush bud stage (Stage IV) to fully opened (Stage VII, petals 45(to the stem) flower. LPE treatment delayed senescence in snapdragon by four days. Furthermore, it enhanced the opening of floral buds and opened all the florets on every spike. LPE treatment also significantly delayed loss in fresh weight of spikes associated with senescence, lowered the endogenous ethylene production and reduced ion leakage from florets. LPE had a similar effect on fresh weight and ion leakage from carnations if it was applied at an early stage of flower opening. Older carnations (Stage VII) were found unresponsive to LPE. In conclusion, LPE has the potential in enhancing the vase life of snapdragons and carnations. Carnations must be harvested at the open brush bud stage for effective LPE application. Our results suggest that LPE is prolonging vase life of cut flowers by reducing ethylene production and maintaining membrane integrity.

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