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Maintenance of quality of gerbera cut flowers - study of postharvest behaviour in relation to ethylene and to the use of natural plant extracts as preservative solutions


Gerbera jamesonii hybrida is one of the most common cut flower all over the world and in Europe, Netherlands is the leader covering about 45% of the total market In Italy the production of gerbera represents the 6% of the total flowers production following carnations, roses and chrisanthemum, localized especially in Campania, Toscana and Lazio. The market for this flowel is growing that's why the trend of the production is rising. The gerbera production in Greece is located mainly in Crete island and this situation gives problems in term of distribution, quality maintenance and shipping costs. Speaking of distribution of gerbera the major problem is represented by the curvature of thec stem or scape. This curvature commercially known as "stem break" is very frequent above all during long time shipping and in dry pack. Gerbera with stem break cannot be sold and even thec stem break occurs few days after sale, it is not a good promotion for the sellers. Several studies have been conducted to know the cause of this disorder and the main cause has been attributed to occlusion of xylematic vessels due to bacteria (Van Meteren, 1978). The objective of this research will be the study of the biochemical mechanism of stem break in relation to ethylene evolution and of the influence of cultivation system on ethylene production and stem break. In parallel we'll test preservative solution to control ethylene as pulsing treatment before shipping, by using natural compounds environmentally and human safe such as basil extracts or other essential oils from spontaneous plants in Crete Island. First of all, we will analyze the ethylene production of gerbera varieties and we will follow the stem break during the vase maintenance in water bacteria-free. We'll run a regression study between ethylene and stem break and then will choose the variety with the highest and the lowest rate of stem break. In these varieties we'll study the ethylene production along the scape and in the capitulum in relation to the pollen production. Petals, stamen, pollen, ovary will be separated and analyzed for ethylene, ACC (1- aminocyclopropane carboxylic acid) and ACC oxidase. Once we have confirmed the role of ethylene we'll test some preservative solutions other than STS (silver thiosulfate) such as MCP (methilcyclopropane) but above all some natural, environmentally and human safe extracts from basil and other spontaneous plants from Crete, and then we'll dry pack gerbera simulating the distribution system to North Europe. The influence of cultivation substrate (soilless) on stem break will be also evaluated by following the ethylene production.

Funding Scheme

RGI - Research grants (individual fellowships)


Alsyllion Agrokepion
73100 Hania - Crete

Participants (1)

Not available