Nairobi, 29 September, 2017. Flower industry experts estimates as much as 30% of all flower loss is a direct result of ethylene damage, due to either internal or external sources of exposure. Ethylene, an internal gaseous plant hormone, profoundly influences the growth and development of plants.
It acts at trace levels through the life of the plant by accelerating wilting regulating the opening of flowers, and the abscission (or shedding) of leaves and flower petals. Ethylene is produced from essentially all parts of higher plants, including leaves, stems, roots, flowers, fruits, tubers and seedlings. Its production can also be induced by a variety of external aspects such as mechanical bruising or environmental stresses.
Flooding, drought, chilling, wounding and pathogen attack can induce ethylene formation in plant. Ethylene produced from external sources such as other flowers, banana-ripening rooms in supermarket distribution warehouses, propane heaters, forklift fumes, bacteria and even cigarette smoke also can have devastating effects when exposed.
Ethylene will shorten the shelf life of cut flowers and potted plants by accelerating floral senescence and abscission. Flowers and plants that are subjected to stress during shipping, handling or storage produce ethylene causing a significant reduction in floral display. Some examples of flower types which are more affected by ethylene damage include rose, orchid, carnation, alstroemeria, stock, delphinium, phlox and freesia.
Ethylene can cause significant economic losses to florists, markets, suppliers and growers. Floralife has long been involved in developing ways to inhibit ethylene production in flowers to keep flowers fresher and longer, through the commercialized innovation of EthylBloc Technology. By inhibiting ethylene sensitivity, flowers don’t respond to ethylene produced internally or from external sources. This far increases the quality, freshness and profits of flowers overall.