Protea carbohydrate project

LEAD INSTITUTION:  Stellenbosch University
BENEFICIARY:  Fynbos and Protea Industry

Have a better understanding of the postharvest physiology and carbohydrate metabolism of fynbos cut flower stems in order to improve on current pulsing techniques and/or to develop new innovative postharvest treatments to maintain product quality during long-term cold storage and for the extension of vase life.

  1. Understand the ability of various Protea species to convert glucose to starch or sucrose, following glucose pulsing and relate this phenomenon to the ability of glucose pulsing to alleviate leaf blackening.
  2. Be knowledgeable about the natural storage carbohydrate present in ligno-tuberous species of Leucadendron/Leucospermum/Protea and relate this naturally available carbohydrate pool to the storage ability and vase life of the cut flower products associated with lignotubers.
  3. Understand if glycine betaine and a trehalose sugar are possible pulse alternative to glucose.
  4. Understand the potential of Sodium nitroprusside (SNP) a Nitric Oxide (NO) donor to extend the vase life of fynbos cut flower products and develop methodology to generate DETA/NO if required.

Understand nectar biosynthesis inhibition as an alternative mechanism to maintain the carbohydrate status of selected Proteas, thereby delaying the onset of leaf blackening.