Pee on Cut Flowers to Keep Them Fresh Longer May 23, 2015 5:50:44 GMT -5
Post by Graveyardbride on May 23, 2015 5:50:44 GMT -5
Pee on Cut Flowers to Keep them Fresh Longer
Enjoying a call of nature over a bouquet of daffodils or roses may seem bizarre, but scientists say cut flowers last up to twice as long when given a combination of aspirin and urea – the chemical found in human urine.
Horticultural experts tested how long a bunch of cut gerberas would last using various treatments. The gerbera jamesonii, also known as the Transvaal daisy or African daisy, is a species native to South Africa and one of the most important commercially grown flower crops. Its large, vividly and varied blooms make it an attractive species for floral displays and a favorite in many households. However, like most cut flowers, "vase life" is limited to just a few days if the blooms are simply dunked in a water-filled vessel.
Now, Maryam Jamshidi and Ebrahim Hadavi, of the Department of Horticultural Sciences, at Islamic Azad University Karaj, and Roohangiz Naderi, of the University of Tehran, both in Iran, experimented with a variety of chemicals in a bid to extend the vase-life of cut gerbera blooms. Their tests with various combinations of salicyclic acid, the active derivative of the painkiller drug aspirin, malic acid which gives ripe fruits a tart taste and urea from mammal urine revealed they could extend bloom time in the vase for gerberas from about a week to more than two weeks compared with untreated flowers.
The combination of salicylic acid, malic acid and urea prevents contamination of the submerged stems with bacteria that would otherwise quickly kill the blooms. However, the acids on their own would boost harmful enzyme activity in the stems, leading them to breakdown in water. The presence of urea acts as a source of nitrogen that can be absorbed by the stems and act as a sustaining nutrient. The authors said these compounds are all readily available in the horticultural industry and could be provided as a packaged formula to be added to vase water to keep flowers lasting longer.
Urea is the waste product of most living organisms and the major organic compound of human urine.
Plant food sold in garden centers usually contains three main minerals aimed at keeping blooms healthier and longer lasting. The chief ingredients are nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium, which is frequently used in potash form to make it more soluble. Nitrogen will make a plant greener by promoting development of foliage and helping it grow larger and faster. Phosphorous fortifies the root systems so that the plants can withstand water shortages and draw all the nutrients that they need from the soil. Potassium will help you get bigger fruits and flowers, as well as promoting disease resistance in your plants.
Organic fertilizers are usually made up of fish and natural green manures and mulches from animals and organic plant materials. However, many keen gardeners and flower growers experiment with a range of homemade plant food ingredients, such as egg shells, watered-down coffee, Epsom salts and baking powder to keep flowers blooming longer.
The research is published in the International Journal of Postharvest Technology and Innovation.
Source: Chris Richards, The Mirror, May 20, 2015.