Date of Graduation

Spring 2017

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Major

Chemical Engineering - Cooperative Education

Research Sponsor

Dr. Bi-min Zhang Newby

First Reader

Gaurav Amarpuri

Second Reader

Dr.Ali Dhinojwala

Abstract

Floriculture is the third largest agricultural crop in the United States of America. Flowers are usually transported in pots of mud or with the roots still submerged in water to increase their shelf life and ensure freshness during long hours of transport. This not only increases the weight of the transport materials but also makes the process expensive.

The research conducted provides the first stages of an alternative packaging material that can lower the weight of transport materials and maintain the freshness of the flowers. The experiments conducted in this work support the hypothesis that using controlled high (>60%) humidity chambers can help prolong the freshness and shelf life of fresh cut roses. Experiment 1 suggested a link between humidity and shelf life/freshness of roses. Experiment 2 supported the possibility of using hygroscopic chemicals and creating chambers to maintain humidity. Experiment 3,4 and 5 corrected certain assumptions while providing direction to future works. Experiment 6 incorporated the information and understanding from the previous experiments and tested the primary hypothesis.

Overall, the chambers that maintained an average humidity of 68.16% managed to prolong the freshness of the rose samples longer and increase the shelf life of the samples by 2 days.

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