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Margrethe Serek and Michael S. Reid

Spraying flowering plants of Schlumbergera truncata (Haw.) `White Christmas' with aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), an inhibitor of ethylene biosynthesis, did not prevent the rapid loss of flower buds caused by exposure to 1 μl of ethylene/liter. Treatment with the silver thiosulfate anionic complex (STS) strongly inhibited such effects. The rate of bud drop in ethylene-free air (interior environment room) was somewhat reduced by AVG treatment, although total display life of treated plants was not significantly different from that of the controls. STS treatment reduced the rate of bud drop, and increased display life by 20 %.

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Motoaki Doi and Michael S. Reid

Regardless of their maturity at harvest, the vase life of cut inflorescences of the hybrid Limonium `Fantasia' placed in deionized water was 4 to 5 days. A vase solution containing Physan (a quaternary ammonium disinfectant solution) at 200 μl·liter–1 and 20 g sucrose/liter not only prolonged the longevity of individual florets but also promoted bud opening so that the vase life of cut inflorescences extended to 17 days. Pulse treatment with 100 g sucrose/liter in combination with Physan at 200 μl·liter–1 for 12 hours partially substituted for a continuous supply of sucrose. Including 30 mg gibberellic acid/liter in the vase solution was without benefit.

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Juan-Carlos Cevallos and Michael S. Reid

After storage at different temperatures for a simulated transportation period, the vase lives at 20 °C (68 °F) of carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus `Imperial White'), daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus `King Alfred'), iris (Iris hollandica `Telstar'), killian daisies (Chrysanthemum maximum), paperwhite narcissus (Narcissus tazetta `Paperwhite'), roses (Rosa {XtimesX} hybrida `Ambiance'), and tulips (Tulipa gesneriana) decreased with increasing storage temperature. There were no significant differences between the vase life of flowers stored dry and flowers stored in water when storage temperatures were from 0 to 10 °C (32 to 50 °F). The vase life after wet storage at temperatures of 12.5 °C (54.5 °F) and greater was significantly higher than vase life after dry storage at those temperatures for all the flowers studied. Iris and carnation flowers survived storage at 15 and 20 °C (59 and 68 °F) only when stored in water.

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Michael S. Reid and George L. Staby

Research that led to the discovery of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) started with efforts to understand the effects of controlled atmosphere storage and continued with studies that examined the nature of the ethylene binding site. Although some researchers focused on the use of silver ion for inhibiting ethylene action, Sisler and his colleagues focused on analogs of olefins that had a similar effect. Efforts to tag the binding site using activation tagging with diazocyclopentadiene led to the discovery of the dramatic effects of cyclopropenes, which were identified as products of its photooxidation. The story is a testament to the value of fundamental research and the collegiality and unique intellectual and technical abilities of the primary inventor, Edward C. Sisler.

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Michael S. Reid and Fisun G. Çelikel

The first commercial use of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) was with cut flowers and potted plants, and treatment with this compound is still the preferred strategy for protection of most ethylene-sensitive crops. Research is continuing into optimum treatment conditions and strategies for efficient application in commerce. In studies using carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L. ‘White Sim’) petals to determine the optimal conditions for commercial treatment, we noted some aspects of the inhibition response that were not consistent with the current competitive inhibition model of 1-MCP action. Our data are better explained by an alternative model in which 1-MCP binds to a site that is exposed during the allosteric changes that accompany the enzymatic activities of the binding site in the absence of ethylene.

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Fisun G. Çelikel and Michael S. Reid

The respiration of flowers of stock [Matthiola incana (L.) R. Br.] had a Q10 of 6.9 between 0 and 10 °C. Simulated transport for 5 days resulted in marked reduction in the vase life of flowers transported at 10 °C and above. Flower opening, water uptake, and vase life of the flowers increased somewhat in a vase solution containing 50 ppm NaOCl, and considerably in a commercial preservative containing glucose and a bactericide. Exposure to exogenous ethylene resulted in rapid desiccation and abscission of the petals, effects that were prevented by pretreatment with 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP). Even in the absence of exogenous ethylene, the life of the flowers was significantly increased by inhibiting ethylene action using pretreatment with silver thiosulfate (STS) or 1-MCP. STS was more effective than 1-MCP in maintaining flower quality.

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Fisun G. Çelikel and Michael S. Reid

The respiration of cut flowers of gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii H. Bolus ex Hook.f. `Vesuvio') and sunflower (Helianthus annuus L.) increased exponentially with increasing storage temperature. Poststorage vase life and negatively gravitropic bending of the neck of the flowers were both strongly affected by simulated transport at higher temperatures. Vase life and stem bending after dry storage showed highly significant linear relationships (negative and positive, respectively) with the rate of respiration during storage. The data indicate the importance of maintaining temperatures close to the freezing point during commercial handling and transport of these important commercial cut-flower crops for maximum vase life.

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Susan S. Han, Abraham H. Halevy and Michael S. Reid

Vase life of individual flowers of cut brodiaea (Triteleia laxa Benth.) inflorescences ended 4 days after opening. Best vase life was achieved by harvesting inflorescences 1 to 2 days before anthesis of the first flower and holding them in a vase solution containing 2% sucrose and 200 ppm 8-hydroxyquinoline citrate (HQC). Such inflorescences had a display life of 12 days. Decreasing the pH of the vase solution or pulsing inflorescences with 10% sucrose for 16 hours did not increase their longevity. T. laxa flowers pretreated with 10% sucrose overnight could be stored for up to 2 weeks without significant reduction in vase life.

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Susan S. Han, Abraham H. Halevy and Michael S. Reid

Unpollinated brodiaea (Triteleia laxa Benth.; syn. Brodiaea laxa) flowers produced no measurable C2 H4 during their entire lives. Treatment with C2 H4 (0.03 μl·liter -1) induced senescence of open flowers, completely inhibited opening of buds and petal growth, and promoted ovary growth. Silver thiosulfate had no effect on flowers kept in air but counteracted the effects of applied C, H.. The effect of C2 H4 on ovary growth seems to be indirect, via promotion of petal senescence and mobilization of the petal's metabolites to the ovary. Brodiaea flowers are protandrous; the stigma appears to be receptive (as judged by a pollination-induced burst of ethylene synthesis) only when the petals start to senesce. At this stage, papillae on the stigma surface elongated and separated.

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Steven A. Tjosvold, Meng-Jen Wu and Michael S. Reid

Potted miniature roses (Rosa hybrida `Belle Sunblaze') held after production in simulated home conditions performed poorly due to premature yellowing and abscission of buds and leaves, and failure of buds to open. These symptoms were accelerated when the plants were exposed to low concentrations (1 ppm) of ethylene. Spray application of 100 ppm 6-benzylaminopurine (BA) reduced yellowing, but had little effect on bud yellowing and flower opening. Application of 1 mM STS prevented the abscission of leaves and buds, although it only partly reduced leaf yellowing. A combined BA and STS treatment greatly improved the postproduction quality of rose plants, particularly if applied 1 day before harvesting.