We have investigated the patterns of ethylene biosynthesis in carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) genotypes that exhibit extended vase life in comparison to flowers of White Sim'. `White Sim' flowers exhibited typical symptoms of senescence, including petal in-rolling and rapid wilting, beginning 5 days after harvest. In contrast, the other genotypes studied did not show petal in-rolling or rapid wilting associated with petal senescence. The first visible symptom of senescence in these flowers was necrosis of the petal tips, and it occurred from 3 to 7 days after the initial symptoms of senescence were seen in `White Sim' flowers. In all cases, the extended-vase-life genotypes did not exhibit the dramatic increase in ethylene production that typically accompanies petal senescence in carnation. This appeared to be the result of limited accumulation of ACC. In addition, flowers of these genotypes had limited capacity to convert ACC to ethylene. Therefore, we conclude that the low level of ethylene produced by these flowers during postharvest aging is the result of low activities of both ACC synthase and the ethylene-forming enzyme. Treatment of `White Sim' flowers at anthesis with 1.0 μl ethylene/liter resulted in the induction of increased ethylene biosynthesis and premature petal senescence. The extended-vase-life genotypes exhibited varying responses to ethylene treatment. One genotype (87-37G-2) produced elevated ethylene and senesced prematurely, as did flowers of `White Sim'. A second genotype (82-1) was induced to senesce by ethylene treatment but did not produce increased ethylene. A third genotype (799) was unaffected by ethylene treatment. The results of this study suggest these extended-vase-life genotypes are representative of genetic differences in the capacity to synthesize and respond to ethylene. Chemical name used: 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid (ACC).
Treatment of cut carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L. `White Sim') flowers with the synthetic cytokinin benzyladenine (BA) at concentrations >1.0 μm induced premature petal senescence. Flowers treated with 100 μm BA exhibited elevated ethylene production in styles and petals before untreated flowers. The gynoecia of BA-treated flowers accumulated 1-aminocyclopropane-l-carboxyllc acid (ACC) and enlarged before untreated flowers. Removal of the gynoecium (ovary and styles) or styles prevented BA-induced petal senescence and resulted in a substantial delay in petal senescence. In contrast, removal of the gynoecium had no effect on timing of petal senescence in flowers held in water. These results indicate BA stimulates petal senescence by inducing premature ACC accumulation and ethylene production in the gynoecium.