THE ROLE OF CHEMICAL ADJUVANTS AND ETHYLENE SYNTHESIS ON CUT FLOWER LONGEVITY
Carnations exhibit two distinct phases of ethylene production; a low steady-state phase during which the flower remains turgid and a high log linear phase associated with wilting and senescence. The log-linear phase is due to autocatalytic ethylene production which initiates senescence of carnations and other flowers. Environmental factors that create moisture stress or induce ethylene production predispose the flower to senesce. No single mechanism can account for the extension of decorative life of flowers observed with a broad spectrum of chemotherapeutic adjuvants. Sucrose at concentrations of 8 and 16% markedly defers senescence by delaying but not inhibiting autostimulation of ethylene production. The mechanism controlling ethylene production may be osmotic in nature, or sucrose could stimulate respiration creating higher CO2 levels which could defer the onset of autocatalytic ethylene production. Cycloheximide, a potent inhibitor of protein synthesis, delayed senescence of carnations bud did not alter steady-state ethylene production or sensitivity of the flower to olefin activation of ethylene synthesis but delayed autostimulation of ethylene production by endogenous ethylene. No chemical adjuvants in holding solutions investigated thus far have inhibited the autostimulation of ethylene production.
Dilley, D.R. and Carpenter, W.J. (1975). THE ROLE OF CHEMICAL ADJUVANTS AND ETHYLENE SYNTHESIS ON CUT FLOWER LONGEVITY. Acta Hortic. 41, 117-132