Ethylene induced abscission is most often a problem in ornamental plants, where low concentration can cause complete loss of flowers or leaves. While useful in inducing flowering in bulbs and other propagules, ethylene can damage these propagules after flowers have started to develop or are fully developed.
Ethylene pollution during the marketing of tulip bulbs for example, results in failure of the flowers to develop, a condition called "blasting". Low concentrations of O2 and high concentrations of CO2 in the storage atmosphere reduce the rates of respiration as well as ethylene production. CO2 enriched atmospheres can also inhibit the action of ethylene on tissues sensitive to it by acting as a competitive inhibitor to C2H4 action at the receptor site.
Water loss along with ethylene action is one of the major factors that limit the marketable life of cut flowers. Water loss can cause undesirable changes in appearance such as wilting and shrivelling, softening of tissues, weight loss and changes in colour. It also induces water stress, which accelerates senescence and abscission.
The rate of water production is directly related to the rate of O2 uptake and any method such as MAP storage, which reduces the respiration rate can in fact contribute to a reduction in transpiration. Convex Plastics can produce a liner that combines these beneficial factors to produce an atmosphere low in O2, high in CO2 and with a high RH, while minimising ethylene concentrations to enhance the shelf life of most commercial flower crops.
Siam Tulips, Delphinium, Helleborus, Viburnum, Peonies and Hydrangea.