Shipping and 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) Effects on Shelf Life of Diascia ×hybrida

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  • 1 Texas A&M Univ., Dept. of Horticultural Sciences, College Station, TX 77843-1223
  • | 2 Texas A&M Univ., Dept. of Horticultural Sciences, College Station, TX 77843-2133

Diascia ×hybrida (diascia) is a cool season vegetative annual produced in 6 weeks in an 11.4-cm pot under greenhouse production. Early experiments noted that during simulated shipping in a growth chamber at 26.7 ± 0.3 °C, 0 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF and 50% RH, diascia flowers abscised. To test the effect of 1-MCP on retention of flowers during shipping, three hundred diascia plants were grown under temperature set points of 24°/18 °C day/night in a glass greenhouse. Three harvests of 42 plants each were made as plants became marketable i.e., open flowers on six racemes. The treatments were factorial with three shipping durations (0, 1, or 2 days) and two 1-MCP (1-Methylcyclopropene, Ethylboc, Floralife, Waterboro, S.C.) treatments (0 mg·L-1 and the commercially recommended application rate) and seven plants per treatment. Plants were boxed and sealed under 4-mL clear plastic tarps with duct tape and then treated with 1-MCP gas or water for 4 hours before moving to the growth room (19 °C, 10 μmol·m-2·s-1 PPF) for 2 weeks. They remained in the boxes for the duration of simulated shipping treatments. Flower number, racemes with open flowers and a quality rating were given when removed from the shipping boxes. For plants in the first and second harvests, 1-MCP significantly reduced flower and raceme abscission 1 week after shipping regardless of shipping duration; this was not seen in the third harvest. Two weeks post shipment there was no difference in flower numbers between 1-MCP treated and untreated plants. With two exceptions, no differences among measured variables occurred due to shipping duration.

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