In a clinical study titled “Improvement of Vase Life and Post-harvest Factors of Lilium orientalis Bouquet by Silver Nanoparticles,” scientists from the Department of Horticulture at Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran tested the hypothesis that silver nanoparticles would help cut flowers live longer by reducing microbial growth in the vase. Using suspensions of silver nanoparticles in water at concentrations of 5, 15, 25, 30 parts per million (ppm) and comparing the floral arrangements against controls with untreated vase water, the researchers found that the cut flowers lived up to twice as long in the silver-treated solutions. In their clinical study, the researchers concluded, “Owing to its strong antibacterial properties, silver nanoparticles are dramatic tools for extending cut flowers post harvest life.” The researchers also pointed out that even at the highest concentration used (i.e., 30 ppm) there were no apparent toxic effects on the flowers. What’s more, the ability of the cut flowers to uptake nutrients decreased rapidly in the control flower arrangements that had no silver added, while the nutrient uptake of the flowers arrangements in the silver-treated water barely decreased during the lifetime of the cut flowers. Finally, the fresh weight of the control flowers that were not treated with silver nanoparticles dropped significantly over a period of several days, while the silver nanoparticles-treated flowers “maintained fresh weight at high values” according to the researchers.

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