The Effects of Different Levels of Sugar and Sodium Benzoate on the Extension of Heliconia psittacorum cut flowers

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Cut flowers are now becoming a major source of foreign exchange for some countries in the world. The vase life of these cut flowers has therefore become a major hurdle for these countries. The problem is how to increase the vase life of the cut flowers especially for export .The objective of the study was to determine sugar and sodium benzoate concentrations that could extend the vase life of one of the important cut flower materials, Heliconia psittacorum. Data on the number of days for cut flowers to change colour to brown, the flowers to drop down, as well as the flower head to bend and the flower stalk to change colour to brown were taken and used as a measure of vase life. The experiment was carried out in the laboratory of Horticulture Department, KNUST over a period of two and a half weeks, during which, the number of days for change to occur in any part of each flower were observed and recorded. The study revealed that preserving the cut flower in water gave a longer number of days in preserving the various parts of the cut flower than using sugar solution or sodium benzoate solution. The recommendation was that, economically, it is viable to keep cut Heliconia psittacorum flowers in water.
A Thesis Submitted to the School of Research and Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for The Award of Master of Science (Msc) Degree In Postharvest Technology, April-2013