Mycorrhizal inoculation and/or selenium application affect post-harvest performance of snapdragon flowers
The effect of mycorrhizal inoculation and/or selenium (Se) application as possible agents to improve post-harvest performance of cut snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.) flowers had been studied. Rhizophagus intraradices was inoculated to half of plants at the seedling stage. One third of non-inoculated plants and one third of plants inoculated with R. intraradices were not supplied with Se. One third of non-inoculated and inoculated plants were foliar-sprayed with either 100 or 200 ¿g of seleninic acid per plant before flowering. Flowers were harvested at dawn, packed dry or placed in water and stored in darkness at 5 °C. Afterwards, the vase-life of cut flowers was evaluated. Plant growth and water parameters as well as photosynthetic pigments and organic solutes in leaves were determined at harvesting. The results showed that mycorrhizal inoculation improved plant height, length and basal diameter of flowering stems. In plants untreated with Se, mycorrhizal inoculation increased starch, phenolics, chlorophylls and carotenoids but decreased soluble sugars and proline in leaves. Mycorrhizal inoculation counteracted the reductions in carbohydrates, proline and proteins caused by Se in non-inoculated plants. Type of storage strongly influenced post-harvest performance of cut flowers, being dry storage the most beneficial for delaying senescence. In comparison with non-inoculated plants untreated with Se, neither mycorrhizal inoculation nor the foliar application of Se, alone or combined, prolonged the vase-life of cut flowers. High dose of Se decreased the vase-life of flowers from non-inoculated snapdragons and mycorrhizal inoculation counteracted this negative effect. Changes in water status and carbohydrate metabolism in plants inoculated or not with R. intraradices may have resulted in unusual development of flowering stems and post-harvest performance of flowers after spraying high dose of Se. Further research is needed to confirm this hypothesis.