Modified atmosphere storage of cut peony flowers to extend the sales period

A. Christiaens, L. Blindeman, L. Van de Vondel, P. Ragaert, F. Devlieghere, B. Gobin, M.-C. Van Labeke
Herbaceous cut peony (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) has a limited marketable period due to seasonal production. A qualitative storage period can extend the sales period. For three consecutive years, the effects of storage and subsequent vase life of the cultivars ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ (SB) and ‘The Fawn’ (TF) were monitored. Vase life after dry storage at 2°C for 6 and 10 weeks under a normal atmosphere and a controlled atmosphere was compared to vase life immediately after harvest. The atmosphere was modified using a commercial pallet box (Janny MT module) which resulted in an average concentration of oxygen and carbon dioxide of approximately 3%. During storage ethylene accumulated in the pallet box, while under normal atmosphere ethylene levels remained low. Disease incidence (Botrytis cinerea) increased during storage and was higher in 2021 (a cold and wet spring) compared to 2020 (a warm and dry spring). After 10 weeks of storage, disease incidence on the flowers was significantly less under controlled atmosphere compared to normal atmosphere. A postharvest treatment before storage in 2021 with 30% pyrimethanil as fumigant significantly decreased Botrytis incidence. However, the treatment was phytotoxic. Even though the maximum efficiency of photosystem II (Fv/Fm) decreased significantly during storage and was significantly lower under controlled atmosphere, flower opening, and vase life were not equally affected. Vase life of SB was shorter after storage. However, flower opening of SB was improved after 6 weeks of storage in 2020 compared to non-stored flowers. Flower opening of TF was not different after 6 weeks and poorer after 10 weeks of storage compared to non-stored flowers. The storage atmosphere had no significant effect on flower opening and vase life in 2019 and 2020. In 2021 vase life was shorter for flowers stored under a normal atmosphere due to supplemental Botrytis infestation during vase life.
Christiaens, A., Blindeman, L., Van de Vondel, L., Ragaert, P., Devlieghere, F., Gobin, B. and Van Labeke, M.-C. (2023). Modified atmosphere storage of cut peony flowers to extend the sales period. Acta Hortic. 1368, 25-32
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2023.1368.4
cold storage, vase life, Botrytis, chlorophyll fluorescence, pyrimethanil

Acta Horticulturae