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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MICROBIAL FOOD SAFETY OF FRESH AND FRESH-CUT PRODUCE Title: Maintaining Quality of Edible Flowers with Controlled Release of 1-Methylcyclopropene and Modified Atmosphere Packaging

Authors
item Kou, Liping -
item Turner, Ellen
item Luo, Yaguang

Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 12, 2012
Publication Date: May 21, 2012
Citation: Kou, L., Turner, E.R., Luo, Y. 2012. Maintaining Quality of Edible Flowers with Controlled Release of 1-Methylcyclopropene and Modified Atmosphere Packaging. Journal of Food Science. 77(5):S188-S193.

Interpretive Summary: Edible flowers have great sensory appeal, but are highly perishable. Currently, edible flowers must be used within 2-5 days of harvest and thus require air transport. This study evaluated the potential of using controlled release of 1-Methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) to maintain the quality of edible flowers. Results indicate that the combination treatment of 1-MCP and MAP maintained the fresh appearance and overall quality of edible carnations and snapdragons flowers for up to fourteen days. This improvement in shelf life would make it possible for a cost-effective ground transportation of these edible flowers.

Technical Abstract: Postharvest 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) treatment is used to counter ethylene activity and delay senescence in many fresh produce commodities. This study investigated the effect of 1-MCP treatment with modified atmosphere (MA) packaging on quality maintenance of edible flowers. Freshly harvested carnations and snapdragons were packaged in rigid trays with or without 0.5 µL L-1 1-MCP, sealed with gas permeable film and stored at 5 °C for 14 days. Package atmosphere, electrolyte leakage, weight loss, decay index and overall quality were evaluated on days 0, 7 and 14. Treatment with 1-MCP resulted in significantly slower changes in O2, CO2 and C2H4 partial pressures in package headspace than for MAP control (no 1-MCP). 1-MCP treated flowers also maintained a significantly lower decay rate than the MAP control at the end of storage. MA packaging significantly reduced dehydration of flowers. Flowers packaged commercially in plastic clamshell containers endured greatest weight loss and quality decline. In conclusion, treatment with controlled release 1-MCP in MA packaging maintained high visual quality of edible flowers for 2 weeks compared to 2-5 days when stored in current commercially used containers. Extension of edible flower shelf-life may allow decreased shipping costs and wider edible flowers use in the restaurant industry.

Last Modified: 8/30/2014