P ostharvest b iology & t echnology

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, V


. 35(2), A








 & T






 35(2):254–255. 2000.

Received for publication 12 Apr. 1999. Accepted

for publication 30 June 1999. We thank the Rural

Industries Research and Development Corporation

for financial support, Mr. Tony Slater for experi-

mental assistance and advice, and Mr. Allan Lisle

for statistical advice. The cost of publishing this

paper was defrayed in part by the payment of page

charges. Under postal regulations, this paper there-

fore must be hereby marked advertisement solely to

indicate this fact.


To whom reprint requests should be addressed; e-

mail: d.joyce@cranfield.ac.uk

Responses of Native Australian Cut

Flowers to Treatment with

1-Methylcyclopropene and Ethylene

Andrew J. Macnish and David H. Simons

School of Land and Food, The University of Queensland, Gatton College, Qld.

4345, Australia

Daryl C. Joyce


Silsoe College, Cranfield University, Silsoe, Bedford MK45 4DT, United


John D. Faragher

Institute for Horticultural Development, Private Bag 15, South Eastern Mail

Centre, Vic 3176, Australia

Peter J. Hofman

Queensland Department of Primary Industries, PO Box 5083, Sunshine Coast

Mail Centre, Qld 4560, Australia

Additional index words. abscission, Cassinia aduncaCeratopetalum gummiferum,

Chamelaucium uncinatumEriostemon scaberGrevilleaLeptospermum petersonii,

Leptospermum scopariumOzothamnus diosmifoliusPlatysace lanceolata, senescence,

silver thiosulfate, TelopeaThryptomene calycina, vase life, Verticordia nitens, Zieria


Abstract. Postharvest longevity of some cut flowers is shortened by exposure to ethylene

gas. Adverse effects of ethylene may be prevented by treatment with 1-methylcyclopropene

(1-MCP) gas. Responses of 14 different native Australian cut flowers to 1-MCP and

ethylene applied at concentrations of 10 nL·L


 and 10 




, respectively, were examined.

Each gas was applied alone for 12 hours at 20 


C and they were also applied in series. Vase

lives of Ceratopetalum gummiferumChamelaucium uncinatumGrevillea ‘Kay Williams’

and ‘Misty Pink’, Leptospermum petersoniiTelopea ‘Shady Lady’, and Verticordia nitens

were reduced by ethylene treatment. Treatment with 1-MCP generally protected these cut

flowers against subsequent exposure to ethylene. The 1-MCP treatment usually did not

extend their vase lives in the absence of exogenous ethylene.

ratory. Descriptions of these genera can be

found in Wrigley and Fagg (1997).

Flowers were assigned to individual vases

containing 10 mg available chlorine per liter

of deionized water. The 1-MCP gas was syn-

thesized and quantified according to Sisler

and Serek (1997). Flowers were treated on day

0 with 0 or 10 nL·L


 1-MCP for 12 h at 20 



inside sealed glass or perspex chambers. Half

of the flowers from each of these treatments

were then exposed on day 1 to ethylene (10




) for 12 h at 20 


C. The 1-MCP treat-

ment protocol was chosen on the basis of

preliminary experiments with Grevillea

‘Sylvia’ (Setyadjit et al., 1997) and other cut

flowers (Serek et al., 1995a), in which this

treatment provided protection against ethyl-

ene. The ethylene treatment protocol was based

on similar treatments reported by Joyce (1989),

which caused flower abscission in Cuncina-

tum. All flowers were held at 20 




C, 50%

to 70% relative humidity under a 12-h light

period per day (10–13 






). Com-

pletely randomized designs were used with

five to 10 replicate flowers per treatment. Data

were analyzed by analysis of variance as 2 



factorials using MINITAB Release 11.12.

Results and Discussion

Nanomolar concentrations of 1-MCP pre-

vented floral organ abscission (data not pre-

sented) and associated loss in vase life in C.

gummiferum,  C.  uncinatum,  Grevillea ‘Kay

Williams’,  Grevillea ‘Misty Pink’, L.

petersonii, and Vnitens following treatment

with exogenous ethylene (Table 1). This find-

ing is consistent with reports that STS treat-

ment prevents ethylene-related abscission in

cut flowers of C.  uncinatum,  V.  nitens, and

Grevillea hybrids (Joyce, 1989; Joyce and

Poole, 1993; Joyce et al., 1993; respectively).

The 1-MCP treatment did not provide signifi-

cant protection against ethylene for Telopea

‘Shady Lady’. Vase lives of C.  adunca,  E.

scaber,  L.  scoparium,  O.  diosmifolius,  P.

lanceolataTcalycina, and Zcytisoides were

not significantly (P > 0.05) reduced by expo-

sure to exogenous ethylene. Except for C.

gummiferum, 1-MCP treatment did not sig-

nificantly (P > 0.05) extend the vase life of any

of the other 13 species tested when they were

not exposed to ethylene.

This study shows that 1-MCP gas, which is

easy to apply, has potential as a postharvest

anti-ethylene treatment for CgummiferumC.

uncinatum,  Grevillea ‘Kay Williams’,

Grevillea ‘Misty Pink’, Lpetersonii, and V.


Literature Cited

Australian Bureau of Statistics. 1998. Exports by

industry, p. 83. Austral. Bur. Stat., Canberra,


Joyce, D., R. Jones, and J. Faragher. 1993. Posthar-

vest characteristics of native Australian flowers.

Postharvest News and Inform. 4:61N–67N.

Joyce, D.C. 1989. Treatments to prevent flower

abscission in Geraldton wax. HortScience


Joyce, D.C. and M.C. Poole. 1993. Effects of ethyl-

Native Australian cut flowers are traded

internationally (e.g., Australian Bureau of Sta-

tistics, 1998). However, unless treated with

silver thiosulphate (STS), floral organ abscis-

sion or senescence occurs in some Australian

flowers on exposure to ethylene, thereby re-

ducing vase life and marketability (Joyce et

al., 1993). Despite environmental risks, STS is

used commercially (Serek et al., 1994). Alter-

natively, the novel, gaseous, ethylene-binding

inhibitor, 1-MCP (1-methylcyclopropene), can

protect cut flowers (Serek et al., 1995a, 1995b;

Sisler et al., 1996). In this screening study, the

efficacy of 1-MCP treatment in preventing

ethylene damage to a range of native Austra-

lian flowers was examined.

Materials and Methods

Cut Verticordia nitens (Lindley) Schauer

(yellow morrison) flowers and flowering

Ceratopetalum gummiferum (Smith) (New

South Wales Christmas bush) stems were re-

ceived at the Queensland laboratory within 48

h of harvest. Other flowers, Cassinia adunca

(Sonder), Platysace lanceolata (Labill.) Druce,

Grevillea  ‘Misty Pink’ and ‘Kay Williams’,

Chamelaucium uncinatum (Schauer) ‘Paddy’s

Late’ (Geraldton waxflower), Leptospermum

petersonii (Bailey) (lemon-scented tea tree),

Ozothamnus diosmifolius (Vent.) DC ‘Cooks

Tall Pink’ (rice flower), and Zieria cytisoides

(Smith) were taken to this laboratory within 3

h of harvest. Flowering Eriostemon scaber

(Paxton) and Thryptomene calycina (Lindley)

Stapf. (Grampians thryptomene) stems and

Telopea ‘Shady Lady’ inflorescences were

taken to the Victorian laboratory within 24 h of

harvest. Flowering Leptospermum scoparium

(Forster) ‘Winter Cheer’ (tea tree) stems were

harvested from plants growing near this labo-






, V


. 35(2), A



ene and dehydration on cut flowering stems of

Verticordia spp. Austral. J. Expt. Agr. 33:489–


Serek, M., M.S. Reid, and E.C. Sisler. 1994. A

volatile ethylene inhibitor improves the posthar-

vest life of potted roses. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci.


Serek, M., E.C. Sisler, and M.S. Reid. 1995a. Ef-

fects of 1-MCP on the vase life and ethylene

response of cut flowers. Plant Growth Regulat.


Table 1. Effect of 1-MCP and ethylene


 on vase lives


 of Australian native cut flowers.


Ethylene (








1-MCP (nL·L







Vase life termination criteria


Ceratopetalum gummiferum

11.2 b

15.6 c

4.9 a

14.8 b

Flower abscission and/or sepal wilting

Chamelaucium uncinatum

11.1 b

11.5 b

1.0 a

10.7 b

Flower abscission and/or closing

Cassinia adunca

6.7 a

4.8 a

5.5 a

7.0 a

Leaf senescence and/or pedicel wilting

Eriostemon scaber

2.9 a

3.4 a

3.0 a

3.3 a

Petal abscission

Grevillea ‘Kay Williams’

4.1 b

4.4 b

1.0 a

4.3 b

Flower abscission and/or wilting and/or fading

Grevillea ‘Misty Pink’

4.1 b

4.1 b

1.0 a

3.9 b

Flower abscission and/or wilting and/or fading

Leptospermum petersonii

2.5 b

3.0 b

1.4 a

3.4 b

Flower abscission and/or closing

Leptospermum scoparium

2.8 ab

3.4 b

2.6 a

3.0 ab

Flower abscission and/or wilting and/or fading

Ozothamnus diosmifolius

7.1 a

5.5 a

5.3 a

7.0 a

Leaf senescence and/or pedicel wilting

Platysace lanceolata

20.4 a

19.3 a

18.5 a

20.1 a

Flower wilting and/or fading

Thryptomene calycina

3.6 b

3.0 ab

3.0 ab

2.6 a

Flower closing

Telopea ‘Shady Lady’

2.3 b

2.5 b

1.3 a

2.2 ab

Perianth abscission

Verticordia nitens

11.0 b

9.8 b

1.0 a

11.3 b

Flower abscission and/or closing and/or fading

Zieria cytisoides

3.6 a

4.8 a

2.6 a

4.4 a

Flower abscission and/or wilting


Mean separation within rows by 





Subjectively assessed as loss of visual appeal.


1-MCP and ethylene were each applied for 12 h at 20 


C on day 0 and 1, respectively.

Serek, M., E.C. Sisler, T. Tirosh, and S. Mayak.

1995b. 1-Methylcyclopropene prevents bud,

flower, and leaf abscission of Geraldton

waxflower. HortScience 30:1310.

Setyadjit, A.J. Macnish, D.C. Joyce, and D.H.

Simons. 1997. 1-Methylcyclopropene prevents

ethylene-mediated flower abscission from

Grevillea ‘Sylvia’ inflorescences, p. 333–335.

In: Proc. Australasian Postharvest Hort. Conf.,

28 Sept.–3 Oct. 1997, Univ. of Western Sydney,

Hawkesbury, Australia.

Sisler, E.C., E. Dupille, and M. Serek. 1996. Effect

of 1-methylcyclopropene and methylene-

cyclopropene on ethylene binding and ethylene

action on cut carnations. Plant Growth Regulat.


Sisler, E.C. and M. Serek. 1997. Inhibitors of

ethylene responses in plants at the receptor

level: recent developments. Physiol. Plant.


Wrigley, J.W. and M. Fagg. 1997. Australian native

plants. 4th ed. Reed Books, Kew, Australia.

Document Outline

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