Vase life of cut flowers

Cut flower quality is affected by a wide range of features, like flower number, size, shape, colour (patterns), fragrance, uniformity of blooming, leaf and stem colour, plant shape and developmental stage, and absence of pests and diseases. Postharvest performance involves preserving these specific features for as long as possible. Although these features are caused by a range of physiological processes, they depend mostly on water balance, carbohydrate availability, senescence and pest and disease control. Although there is a clear role for genotype, preharvest growing conditions, and postharvest storage, are just as important: these conditions can be optimised to improve vase life. Of special interest is the long-term storage of flowers, for reefer transport. This way of transport allows a more sustainable product chain.

Specific topics are:

  • Investigate the influence of preharvest conditions on postharvest quality, vase life. RH during preharvest has effect on quality (vase life). Stomata malfunction is caused by high humidity during preharvest and is possibly genotype dependent.
  • Transport of cut flowers can lead to quality problems. What is exactly happening and why is quality affected in some genotypes and not others. Chilling injury, sugar leakage, high humidity during transport, or carbohydrates in the stem.
  • Stomata functioning can be badly influenced by high RH during pre- and or post- harvest. Gene expression in good and bad lines, and observations using stomata analyses are part of this topic.

    Used skills

    Postharvest Phys. Techniques:

    • Vase life measurements
    • Stomata functioning, Microscopy
    • Enzyme assays for chilling injury
    • Transport/Storage simulations
    • Postharvest treatments, LED lighting, cooling, humidity
    • Bacterial counts

      Postharvest Biotech. Techniques:

      • Stomata functioning assays
      • Molecular biology: DNA, RNA, RT-(q)PCR
      • Enzyme assays
      • Carbohydrate measurements, HPLC

        Interested in doing a BSc or MSc thesis at HPP? Please contact the HPP student coordinator Katharina Hanika.