Recent studies investigated the influence of different kinds and degrees of cross-linking of cyclodextrin-based nanosponge (α-CD-NS 1:8, and β-CD-NS 1:2, 1:4, 1:8) as carriers for an non-volatile formulation of 1-methylcyclopropene (1-MCP) to extend the postharvest longevity of an ethylene-sensitive carnation cultivar. In the first experiment, cut flowers of Dianthus caryophyllus L. ‘Idra di Muraglia’ were treated with α- and β-CD-NS - 1-MCP complexes (α- and β-CD-NS complexes) in tap water or sprayed to attain two different concentrations of active ingredient (0.25 and 0.5 µL L–1). Treated flowers were compared to cut stems exposed to equivalent concentrations of volatile 1-MCP, and to a tap water control with or without pure α- and β-CD-NS. The same experimental design was repeated using three different reticulation of β-CD-NS (1:2, 1:4, and 1:8) in tap water. In both experiments, flower and leaf quality (VS), petal color variation and ethylene production levels were daily determined. According to these studies, the β-CD-NS 1:8 complex appears to be the most promising formulation compared to the α-CD-NS 1:8, and to β-CD-NS 1:2 and 1:4 complexes. Particularly, β-CD-NS complex (0.25 µL L–1), in vase suspension, was the most effective application in preventing senescence, reducing ethylene production (measured at nearly nil after 11 days), and maintaining original petal color longer. Overall, this treatment promoted cut flower longevity (loss of ornamental value after 14.7 days; complete damaging at day 18.5) better than the commercial 1-MCP. None of the α-CD-NS complex applications statistically improved the vase life of cut flowers, while the β-CD-NS 1:2 and 1:4 complexes favored ornamental value maintenance in carnation cut flowers, compared to controls. Data on petal color variation and endogenous ethylene production were strictly correlated to VS results. In a third experiment, further investigations on the β-CD-NS 1:8 complex (0.25 and 0.5 µL L–1) were carried out, to evaluate its potential in controlling grey mould caused by Botrytis cinerea. The efficacy of the formulated 1-MCP-loaded β-CD-NS suspension in controlling the fungal disease in addition to prolonging vase life was demonstrated. Its use could yield benefits, such as a reduction in total dose and frequency of administration.
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