Why can't we store flowers for longer? Opinion paper on physiological, (bio)physical and biochemical determinants of premature flower failure after long-term cold storage
Long-term shipment of flowers in reefer containers as a replacement of air freight is the method of choice with respect to saving on transport costs and decreasing the carbon footprint. Long-term storage, in general, also facilitates the required delivery of large volumes on peak days, such as Mothers Day or Valentine Day. Optimal conditions for long-term storage have been developed over the years for a variety of flowers and cultivars with varying degrees of success. The long-term dry storage (>3-4 weeks) at low temperature may induce a number of disorders that greatly shorten the remaining vase life. Often flower development is impaired and premature wilting is observed. Also early yellowing, wilting and abscission of leaves may be observed. Together the vase life (the time the flowers are of acceptable quality) is often severely reduced following long-term storage, and this greatly limits the large-scale use of e.g., reefer container transport. This paper discusses the possible causes of the observed quality problems in flowers in relation to long-term cold storage, and emphasizes the current lack of knowledge about physiological, (bio)physical and biochemical factors involved in flower failure. Given the economic importance and increased global trade of roses, this opinion paper will mostly focus on flower failure in cut roses.
Woltering, E.J. (2019). Why can't we store flowers for longer? Opinion paper on physiological, (bio)physical and biochemical determinants of premature flower failure after long-term cold storage. Acta Hortic. 1263, 325-334
long-term storage, cut flowers, reefer, chilling injury, ethylene, water relations, rose, Botrytis, sugar status, membrane integrity, cell wall breakdown