Bending in cut Gerbera jamesonii flowers relates to adverse water relations and lack of stem sclerenchyma development, not to expansion of the stem central cavity or stem elongation

R.R.J. Perik, D. Raze, H. Harkema, Y. Zhong, W.G. van Doorn

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    We studied stem bending in cut Gerbera flowers (Gerbera jamesonii cv. Tamara). Bending might be due to turgor loss. During vase life water uptake decreased more rapidly than transpiration, hence the flowers lost water. Net water loss did not occur in the floral head, but was found in the stem. It was largest in the segment (10-15 cm below the floral head) where bending was localised. When comparing flowers that showed stem bending with those that did not, on day 7 of vase life, the fresh weight loss of 5 cm stem segments was higher in the stems that had bent. Covering the stems with a flexible, thin sleeve of polypropylene plastic reduced transpiration and increased the time to stem bending from d 7 to d 14 of vase life. Additionally, stem bending might relate to stem elongation and to stem morphology and anatomy. Stems elongated by 1-1.5 cm, in the uppermost 10 cm, during the first two days of vase life. No relationship was found between stem elongation and bending. At harvest, the stems contained a large central cavity, starting at about 5 cm from the root-shoot junction, and ending about 10 cm below the floral head. The cavity extended upwards and laterally during vase life, but no relationship was found between cavity formation and stem bending. A cylinder of sclerenchyma in the stems was found to end about 20 cm below the floral head, in summer. Bending was correlated with the extent of sclerenchyma formation and stem lignin levels. It is concluded that stem bending is due to net water loss from the stem. particularly in the area of bending, and to low mechanical strength in the upper part of the stems, which lack a sclerenchyma cylinder.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)11-18
    JournalPostharvest Biology and Technology
    Volume74
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2012

    Keywords

    • keeping-quality
    • bacteria

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