Document Type: Research Paper


1 Former M.Sc. Student, Department of Horticulture, Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Rasht, Iran

2 Department of Horticulture, Rasht Branch, Islamic Azad University, Rasht, Iran

3 Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran


Cut gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii) flowers are sensitive to microbial contamination and have short vase life. The effect of salicylic acid, citric acid and ascorbic acid (50, 100 and 200 mg l-1) was evaluated on vase life of gerbera flowers. Changes in vase life, water absorption, and bacterial population in stem and vase solution, also biochemical characteristics such as protein concentration, lipid peroxidation level and enzymes activity such as superoxide dismutase and peroxidase were measured and compared with the control. Results showed that the maximum vase life (11.31 and 11.21 days) was achieved in 100 mg l-1 of both citric acid and salicylic acid, respectively. The vase life of control cut flowers was 5.80 days. Most solution uptake (0.907 ml g-1 F.W) was obtained in 100 mg l-1 of citric acid, too. The least bacterial colonies in stem end (151.00) and vase solution (66.33) was obtained in 100 mg l-1 citric acid. Differences between the content of bacterial colonies in vase solution containing 200 mg l-1 citric acid and 100 and 200 mg l-1 salicylic acid was not significant with 100 mg l-1 citric acid. The lowest content (46.04 and 46.21 nmol g-1 F.W.) of lipid peroxidation or MDA content was obtained from cut flowers treated with 200 mg l-1 of citric acid and 100 mg l-1 salicylic acid, respectively. Maximum activity of the peroxidase (0.063 mmol g-1 F.W.) and superoxide dismutase (40.80 nmol g-1 F.W.) enzymes was observed in 200 mg l-1 of citric acid.

Graphical Abstract


• Reduction of microbial contaminant in cut gerbera flowers by natural organic acids (salicylic acid, citric acid and ascorbic acid);

• Increasing of vase life of cut gerbera flowers by natural organic acids;

• Increasing of antioxidant enzymes in cut gerbera flowers by natural organic acids.


Abdulrahman, Y.A., Ali, S.F. and Faizi, H.S. 2012. Effect of sucrose and ascorbic acid concentrations on vase life of snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.) cut flowers. International Journal of Pure Applied Science and Technology, 13 (2): 32-41.

Abri, F., Ghasemnezhad, M., Hasansajedi, R. and Bakhshi, D. 2013. Effect of ascorbic acid on vase life and petal senescence in cut rose flowers (Rosa hybrida cv. ‘Royal Class’). American-Eurasian Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Science, 13 (1): 38-43.

Alaey, M., Babalar, M., Naderi, R. and Kafi, M. 2011. Effect of pre- and postharvest salicylic acid treatment on physio-chemical attributes in relation to vase life of rose cut flowers. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 61: 91-94.

Azeez, A., Sane, A.P., Bhatnagar, D. and Nath, P. 2007. Enhanced expression of serine proteases during floral senescence in Gladiolus. Journal of Phytochemistry, 68: 1352-1357.

Balestra, G.M., Agostini, R., Bellincontro, A., Mencarelli, F. and Varvaro, L. 2005. Bacterial populations related to gerbera (Gerbera jamesonii L.) stem break. Phytopathology of Mediterranean, 44: 291-299.

Banaee, S., Hadavi, E. and Moradi, P. 2013. Effect of ascorbic acid, 8-hydroxyquinoline sulfate and sucrose on the longevity and anthocyanin content of cut Gerbera flowers. Current Agricultural Research Journal, 1 (1): 29-33.

Barth, C., De Tullio, M. and Conklin, P.L. 2006. The role of ascorbic acid in the control of flowering time and the onset of senescence. Oxford Journals, 57: 1657-1665.

Bates, L.S., Waldren, R.P. and Teare, I.D. 1973. Rapid determination of free proline for water stress studies. Plant Soil, 39: 205-207.

Bradford, M.M. 1976. A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein-dye binding. Journal of Analytical Biochemistry, 72: 248-254.

Buchanan-Wollaston, V., Earl, S., Harrison, E., Mathas, E., Navab-pour, S., Page, T. and Pink, D. 2003. The molecular analysis of plant senescence—a genomics approach. Plant Biotechnology Journal, 1: 3–22.

Chakrabarty, D., Kumar Verma, A. and Kumar Datta, S. 2009. Oxidative stress and antioxidant activity as the basis of senescence in Hemerocallis (day lily) flowers. Journal of Horticulture and Forestry, 1: 113-119.

Cheruth, A.J. 2009. Changes in non-enzymatic anti oxidation and ajmalicine production in Catharanthus roseus with different soil salinity regimes. Botany Research International, 2 (1): 1-6.

Conklin, P. 2001. Recent advances in the role of biosynthesis of ascorbic acid in plant cell environment. Journal of Plant, Cell and Environment, 24: 383-394.

Darandeh, N. and Hadavi, E. 2012. Effect of pre-harvest foliar application of citric acid and malic acid on chlorophyll content and post-harvest vase life of Lilium cv. Brunello. Frontiers in Plant Science, 2: 1-3.

da Silva, J.A.T. 2003. The cut flower: postharvest considerations. Online Journal of Biological Science, 3: 406-442.

de Capdeville, G., Maffia, L.A., Finger, F.L. and Batista, U.G. 2003. Gray mold severity and vase life of rose buds after pulsing with citric acid, salicylic acid, calcium sulfate, sucrose and silver thiosulfate. Fitopatology Brasileae, 28 (4): 380-385.

Ding, C.K., Wang, C.Y. and Gross, K.C. 2002. Jasmonate and salicylate induce the expression of pathogenesis-related-protein genes and increase resistance to chilling injury in tomato fruit. Planta, 214: 895–901.

Eidyan, B. 2010. Effect of iron and citric acid foliar applications in combination with nitrogen fertigation on tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa L.). Horticulture. Karaj, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch 75.

El-Kobisy, D.S., Kady, K.A., Hedani, R.A. and Agamy, R.A. 2005. Response of pea plant (Pisum sativum) to treatment with ascorbic acid. Egyptian Journal of Applied Science, 20: 36-50.

Ezhilmathi, K., Singh, V.P., Arora, A. and Sairam, R.K. 2007. Effect of 5-sulfosalicylic acid on antioxidant activity in relation to vase life of Gladiolus cut flowers. Plant Growth Regulation, 51: 99–108.

Gerailoo, S. and Ghasemnezhad, M. 2011. Effect of salicylic acid on antioxidant enzyme activity and petal senescence in ‘Yellow Island’ cut rose flowers. Journal of Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research, 19 (1): 183-193.

Giannopolitis, C. and Ries, S. 1997. Superoxid dismutase. I: Occurence in higher plant. Plant Physiology, 59: 309–314.

He, S., Joyce, D.C., Irving, D.E. and Faragher, J.D. 2006. Stem end blockage in cut Grevillea ‘Crimson Yul-lo’ in inflorescences. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 41: 78-84.

Hell, R. and Stephan, U.W. 2003. Iron uptake, trafficking and homeostasis in plants. Planta, 216: 541–551.

Ieamtim, P., Buanong, M. and Kanlayanarat, S. 2008. Role of ascorbic acid on vase life of red ginger (Alpinia purpurata (Vieill.) K. Schum). Journal of Acta Horticulture, 804: 287-290.

Islam, M., Mehraj, H., Roni, M., Mahasen, M. and Uddin, A.J. 2013. Influence of sucrose and ascorbic acid on vase life of red ginger (Alpinia purpurata Vieill.). Bangladesh Research Publication Journal, 8(1): 104-106.

Jamshidi, M., Hadavi, E. and Naderi, R. 2012. Effects of salicylic acid and malic acid on vase life and bacterial and yeast populations of preservative solution in cut Gerbera flowers. International Journal of AgriScience, 2 (8): 671-674.

Jin, J., Ningwei, S.H., Nan, M., Jinhe, B. and Junping, C. 2006. Regulation of ascorbate peroxidase at the transcript level is involved in tolerance to postharvest water deficit stress in the cut rose Samantha. Journal of Postharvest Biology and Technology, 40: 236-243.

Kazemi, M., Hadavi, E. and Hekmati, J. 2011. Role of salicylic acid in decreases of membrane senescence in cut carnation flowers. American Journal of Plant Physiology, 1–7.

Kazemi, M., Hadavi, E. and Hekmati, J. 2012. Effect of salicylic acid, malic acid, citric acid and sucrose on antioxidant activity, membrane stability and ACC-oxidase activity in relation to vase life of carnation cut flowers. Journal of Plant Science, 7 (2): 78-84.

Kazemi, M., Hadavi, E. and Moradi, P. 2013. The effect of malic acid on the bacteria populations of cut flowers of carnations vase solution. World Applied Science Journal, 10 (7): 737-740.

Liu, J.P., He, S.G., Zhang, Z.Q., Cao, J.P., Lv, P.T., He, S.D., Cheng, G.P. and Joyce, D.C. 2009. Nano-silver pulse treatments inhibit stem-end bacteria on cut gerbera cv. Ruikou flowers. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 54: 59-62.

Lü, P., Cao, J., He, S., Liu, J., Li, H., Cheng, G., Ding, Y. and Joyce, D.C. 2010. Nano-silver pulse treatments improve water relations of cut rose cv. Movie Star flowers. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 57: 196-202.

Mansouri, H. 2012. Salicylic acid and sodium nitroprusside improve postharvest life of chrysanthemums. Scientia Horticulturae, 145: 29–33

Morris, K.A.H., Mackerness, S., Page, T., John, C.F., Murphy, A.M., Carr, J.P. and Buchanan-Wollaston, V. 2000. Salicylic acid has a role in regulating gene expression during leaf senescence. Plant Journal, 23: 677–685.

Nowak, J. and Rudnicki, R.M. 1990. Postharvest handling and storage of cut flowers florist, greens and potted plants. Timber Press. 210 p.

Safa, Z., Hashemabadi, D., Kaviani, B., Nikchi, N. and Zarchini, M., 2015. Studies on quality and vase life of cut Gerbera jamesonii cv. 'Balance' flowers by silver nanoparticles and chlorophenol. Journal of Environmental Biology, 36 (2): 425-431.

Pak, C. and Van Doorn, W.G. 2005. Delay of Iris flower senescence by protease inhibitors. Journal of New Phytologist, 165: 473-480.

Panavas, T. and Rubinstein, B. 1998. Oxidative events during programmed cell death of daylily (Hemeocallis hybrid) petals. Plant Science, 133: 125-138.

Sood, S.H., Vyas, D. and Nagar, P.K. 2006. Physiological and biochemical studies during flower development in two rose species. Journal of Scientia Horticulturae, 108: 390-396.

Sugawara, H., Shibuya, K., Yoshioka, T., Hashiba, T. and Satoh, S. 2002. Is a cysteine proteinase inhibitor involved in the regulation of petal wilting in senescing carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) flowers? Oxford Journals, 53: 407-413.

Tewari, R.K., Kumar, T., Kim, S., Hahn, E.J. and Paek, K.Y. 2009. Nitric oxide retards xanthine oxidase-mediated superoxide anion generation in Phalaenopsis flower: an implication of NO in the senescence and oxidative stress regulation. Journal of Plant Cell Report, 28: 267-279.

van Doorn, W.G. 1997. Water relations of cut flowers. Horticulture Review, 18: 1-85.

Wagstaff, C., Leverentz, M.K., Grifths, G., Thomas, B., Chanasut, U., Stead, A.D. and Rogers, H.J. 2002. Cysteine protease gene expression and proteolytic activity during senescence of Alestromeria petals. Journal of Experimental Botany, 53: 133-240.

Williamson, V.G., Faragher, J.D., Parsons, S. and Franz, P. 2002. Inhibiting the postharvest wound response in wildflowers. Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), Publication No. 02/114.

Zamani, S., Kazemi, M. and Aran, M. 2011. Postharvest life of cut rose flowers as affected by salicylic acid and glutamin. World Applied Science Journal, 12 (9): 1621–1624.