Postharvest management of Heliconia psittacorum x H. spathocircinata cv. Tropics


Gisela Carrera-Alvarado
Ma. de Lourdes Arévalo-Galarza
Joel Velasco-Velasco
Lucero del Mar Ruiz-Posadas
Josafhat Salinas-Ruíz
Obdulia Baltazar-Bernal


cold storage, water absortion, waxing, pulse solution, preservative solution, vase life.


Objetive:  Evaluate different techniques to prolong the postharvest life of  Heliconia psittacorum x H. spathocircinata cv. Tropics.

Design/methodology/approach: Two experiments were carried out; in the first it was evaluated the effect of five pulse solutions [(T1 = control (water); T2 = Hydraflor® 100 (0.5 g L-1); T3 = Hydraflor® 100 (0.5 g L-1) + sucrose (5% w/v); T4 = salicylic acid (1mM) and T5 = salicylic acid (1mM) + sucrose (5% w / v)] prior to storage at 11 ° C and 85 % RH for 10 d. In the second experiment, a wax coating was applied to the heliconia bracts and then maintain at 13 °C and 84% RH for 10 d; after storage the stems were placed in water or salicylic acid solution (1 mM). The results were analyzed by a completely randomized design, 10 replicates were used per treatment, one stem was one experimental unit. An ANOVA and a means comparison test (Tukey, ?=0.05) were performed with the SAS version 9.4.

Results: The anatomy of heliconia stems determines their vase life, since they have wide xylem vessels susceptible to cavitation, for which the absorption of water is limited, also and non-functional stomata in the bracts, which increase the loss of moisture from the tissue. The use of pulse solutions or preservatives has little effect in prolonging the life of heliconia stems. Therefore, the application of wax creates a physical barrier that maintains the turgor of the stems, reduces oxidation, maintaining the bracts quality and increased the total postharvest life for 6 d more than the control stems.

Study limitations/implications: No limitations were found in this study

Findings/conclusions: The postharvest life of heliconia is conditioned by the loss of turgor and low water absorption, which leads to an early wilting of the inflorescences. The application of pulse solutions or preservatives have little effect in prolonging the life of the vase, so the most suitable technique to preserve the quality of the stems is waxing.

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