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Phytochemistry

Daffodil flowers delay senescence in cut Iris flowers.


PMID 15003420

Abstract

Visible symptoms of tepal senescence in cut Iris x hollandica (cv. Blue Magic) flowers were delayed by placing one cut daffodil flower (Narcissus pseudonarcissus, cv. Carlton) in the same vase. Addition of mucilage, exuded by daffodil stems, to the vase water had the same effect as the flowering daffodil stem. The active compound in the mucilage was identified as narciclasine (using LC/MS, GC/MS, 1H and 13C-NMR, and comparison with an authentic sample of narciclasine). The delay of senescence, either by mucilage or purified narciclasine, was correlated with a delayed increase in protease activity, and with a considerable reduction of maximum protease activity. Narciclasine did not affect in vitro protease activity, but is known to inhibit protein synthesis at the ribosomal level. Its effects on senescence and protease activity were similar to those of cycloheximide (CHX), another inhibitor of protein synthesis, but the effective narciclasine concentration was about 100 times lower than that of CHX. It is concluded that the delay of Iris tepal senescence by daffodil stems is due to narciclasine in daffodil mucilage, which apparently inhibits the synthesis of proteins involved in senescence.