096 Disease Incidence in Fresh-cut Peony Flowers after Long-term Cold Storage

in HortScience

Fresh-cut peonies are one of few cut flowers that can be stored for weeks and still provide a marketable flower. Peonies are usually marketed by color: reds, pinks, whites, and corals. Several different cultivars may be included in each color depending on their country of origin and time during the harvest season. Previous work with peonies has shown that different cultivars of the same color may behave differently during postharvest handling, whether it is storage life, vase life, opening time, storage temperature, etc. One problem of long-term cold storage is diseases that may render flowers unmarketable. This study evaluated the effect of four storage disease prevention treatments on seven peony cultivars, two reds, two pinks, and three whites, stored at 1 °C. The four disease prevention treatments included a control, methyl jasmonate during storage, a pre-storage calcium chloride pulsing for 2 h at room temperature, and a pre-storage fungicide spray. Flowers were evaluated for disease incidence on leaves and flowers, and for flower bud openness after 4, 8, and 12 weeks of cold storage. Overall results support previous work that shows peony cultivars react differently to postharvest treatments. Two cultivars were greatly affected by the disease prevention treatments and three were moderately affected, while there were few treatment effects seen with the other two. The calcium chloride pulse produced the greatest disease incidence and resulted in the flowers being more opening, which is not desirable. There was often no difference in the control, methyl jasmonate, and fungicide treatments. It appears that pre-storage treatments may not be beneficial for some fresh-cut peony cultivars.

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