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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Anthurium Harvesting And Pre-Harvest Handling Methods

Maximum possible care is to be taken at the harvesting and post-harvest storage of the flowers to increase their vase life.

A. Harvesting of Anthurium
Anthuriums are generally harvested when the spadix is almost fully developed. Flowers picked too early wilt quickly. Development of true flowers on spadix is also used as a criterion for determining the harvest stage. In Hawaii, growers normally harvest anthurium when one-third of the true flowers on spadix are fully developed.

B. Packaging of Anthurium
The flower stems are placed in lukewarm water (38°C) after the harvest and allowed to stand overnight prior to shipment. They should properly be graded according to the colour, stem length and sizes of spathes and spadices. There are several methods for packing cut flowers. In recent past, methods such as packing the flowers in plastic bags before placing in cartons or dipping the spadix in melted paraffin to reduce moisture loss are also very popular. The flower stems can also be placed in flasks containing water which are packed in moist boxes and soft protective material is put in between spathe and spadix. Foam plastic supports are provided in the box and flowers are secured carefully with tape. The most commonly used box sizes for packing anthurium flowers are 21.6 x 50.8 x 91.4 cm or 27.9 x 43.2 x 101.6 cm which can accommodate at least 10 dozen flowers. Lining of cartons with polythene sheet and moist paper insulation are necessary to maintain proper humidity as well as to prevent injuries to the flowers.

C. Storage of Anthurium
Anthuriums can easily be stored at 13°C for 2 to 3 weeks and will last 2-4 weeks in an arrangement. Exposure of flowers to temperatures below 13°C causes the red flowers to turn blue; dark red flowers being most susceptible. Individual flowers shows a great difference in response to temperature, some not turning blue even at 5°centigrades. If refrigeration facilities are not available, storage in 2-10% O2 (oxygen) can be used advantageously at ambient temperatures of 24-250 centigrade.
D. Vase-life of Anthurium
The keeping quality of the flowers increases as they develop and is maximum when 3/4th of the length of the spadix has changed its colour. Large and medium sized flowers keep better than small and miniature ones. The flowers kept best at 560 F or 13.00 centigrades. Pre-cooling or short refrigeration period does not extend the total life of the flowers. Similarly, the degree of shade under which the plants are grown will not affect flower keeping quality. Vase-life is the longest in the flowers, cut if they are when the spadix is almost completely white. When flowers are cut at this stage the flowers remain fresh for 21.5 and 25.2 days on an average in water and summer respectively.

Various commercial preservatives (floral life, ever bloom, rose life), and chemicals and beverages (sodium benzoate, benzoic acid, glucose, sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, 7-Up etc.) can be used to prolong the shelf-life of anthurium flowers.. A pre-shipping dip of flower stems it} solutions of 2.25% 7-Up (a carbonated beverage), 500 ppm benzoic acid or 7.3 ppm of sodium hypochlorite remarkably extends the vase-life of flowers. Treatment with benzyladenine reduces the respiration rate of flowers and imparts some tolerance to chilling and extends the saleable period. Dipping of flower stems for 10-60 minutes in 4 mm silver nitrate solution (within 12 hours of harvest) also extends the vase-life by 40- 60%. The use of wax for extending post-harvest vase-life of flowers has also been suggested. FMC-819 carnanba -based wax is most effective in increasing the vase-life from 18 days 36 days and imparting a high gloss.
Various commercial preservatives (floral life, ever bloom, rose life), and chemicals and beverages (sodium benzoate, benzoic acid, glucose, sodium hypochlorite, hydrochloric acid, 7-Up etc.) can be used to prolong the shelf-life of anthurium flowers.. A pre-shipping dip of flower stems it} solutions of 2.25% 7-Up (a carbonated beverage), 500 ppm benzoic acid or 7.3 ppm of sodium hypochlorite remarkably extends the vase-life of flowers.

Treatment with benzyladenine reduces the respiration rate of flowers and imparts some tolerance to chilling and extends the saleable period. Dipping of flower stems for 10-60 minutes in 4 mm silver nitrate solution (within 12 hours of harvest) also extends the vase-life by 40- 60%. The use of wax for extending post-harvest vase-life of flowers has also been suggested. FMC-819 carnanba -based wax is most effective in increasing the vase-life from 18 days 36 days and imparting a high gloss (www.world-agriculture.com)

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