Benefits of Chitosan in the Cut Flower Industry

Chitosan has become increasingly popular in the cut flower industry! Not only does chitosan encourage additional blooms, all-natural chitosan is:

  • effective in extending the postharvest life of cut flowers and preventing infection from diseases or pests
  • an efficient binding agent that helps extend pigmentation and prevent wilt during storage
  • a natural decontaminant that binds to ethylene molecules thereby reducing ethylene levels and inhibiting senescence of fresh-cut flowers 
  • able to improve water retention capacity of stem tissues allowing for longer shelf-life and improved vase-life for customers
  • a means to facilitate increased revenue for florists as well as extended quality presentation time 

Chitosan as an antimicrobial agent in preservative solutions for cut flowers.

Cut flowers require proper postharvest stem hydration to prolong vase life. Nano‐sized chitosan is an effective antimicrobial agent that has several potential agricultural applications. In this study, we compared the efficacies of solutions containing chitosan nanoparticles, regular chitosan particles, citric acid, and distilled and tap water controls in treating cut gerbera inflorescences during postharvest storage. Relative water uptake (RWU), transpiration rate (TR), water balance (WB), ligule color, solution pH, stem bending, stem‐end blockage, and counts of bacteria, mold, and yeast were investigated. RESULTS The solution containing chitosan nanoparticles prevented stem bending, enabled higher RWU, established a suitable WB, and controlled microbial growth more efficiently than the other solutions. The chitosan nanoparticle solution strongly inhibited molds and yeasts. CONCLUSION The results of this study demonstrated that chitosan is a promising postharvest preservative for cut gerbera inflorescences.

Chitosan coating effect on vase life of flowering stems of Heliconia bihai (L.) L. cv. Halloween

New postharvest handling techniques to increase distribution of the cut flowers without compromising flower stem quality as measured by vase life are needed. The effects of chitosan coating on vase life of flower stems of Heliconia bihai (L.) L. Halloween stored under laboratory conditions has been studied. Flowering stem fresh weight loss, bract colour (L*, C* and h°), concentration of anthocyanin, total flavonoids and total sugars, percentage of absolute integrity of cell membranes (PAI) of stem, peduncle and bracts, and duration of vase life were evaluated on day 1, 5, 10 and the final day of vase life. Concentrations of 1.0 and 1.5% of chitosan, extended the vase life by 10.3 and 7 d more than the control, respectively. An internal cell damage gradient from the base to the apex based on ion release was observed and the visual quality of inflorescences decreased over time in all treatments, but at different rates.

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