San Antonio students seek patent to keep flowers blooming

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San Antonio students seek patent to keep flowers blooming

1 of 9A comparison chart is shown for bacterial growth rates as Hannah Taylor and Ashley WalkerPhoto: Tom Reel /Staff photographer 2 of 9Hannah Taylor (left) and Ashley Walker, demonstrate their process for helping cut flowers bloom longer. They are seeking a patent on the process. September 6, 2018.Photo: Tom Reel /Staff photographer 3 of 9Hannah Taylor (right) and Ashley Walker, demonstrate the process for helping cut flowers bloom longer. They are seeking a patent on the process. September 6, 2018.Photo: Tom Reel /Staff photographer 4 of 9Hannah Taylor (left) and Ashley Walker, demonstrate the process for helping cut flowers bloom longer. They are seeking a patent on the process. September 6, 2018.Photo: Tom Reel /Staff photographer 5 of 9Instructor Joshua Anderson talks with Ashley Walker in his classroom on September 6, 2018.Photo: Tom Reel, Staff / Staff photographer 6 of 9Joshua Anderson conducts a class in floral arragnement for a funeral at the Agriscience Magnet Program at Madison High School.Photo: Tom Reel /Staff photographer 7 of 9Joshua Anderson conducts a class in floral arragnement for a funeral at the Agriscience Magnet Program at Madison High School.Photo: Tom Reel /Staff photographer 8 of 9Joshua Anderson conducts a class in floral arragnement for a funeral at the Agriscience Magnet Program at Madison High School.Photo: Tom Reel /Staff photographer 9 of 9Hannah Taylor (right) and Ashley Walker, demonstrate their process for helping cut flowers last longer. They are seeking a patent on the process.Photo: Tom Reel /Staff photographer A summer spent working at an H-E-B floral department exposed teenagers Hannah Taylor and Ashley Walker to a sad fact of the nearly $105 billion global flower industry. Forty-five percent of the blooms stocked by retail flower shops— including the lilies flown in from the Netherlands and the roses imported from Colombia and Ecuador — are thrown out before ever reaching a customer. “We noticed during our internship that if flowers were not purchased within a few days they would be discarded due to the buildup of bacteria in the floral buckets,” said Taylor, 17. “Almost half of it going to waste is ineffective from both an economic and natural resource standpoint.” They knew the problem had to due with stagnant water because both Taylor and Walker had earned their Texas floral design certifications and conducted water quality research as part of the Agriscience Magnet Program at Madison High School. They wondered if a simple aeration system could stir that water up, preventing the proliferation of bacteria and other toxins, and extending the flowers’ vase life long enough to get more of them to homes, sweethearts and banquet tables. It was the basis of a research project that found that using hose barb adapters and an aquarium pump could not only extend the life of lilies, their test plant, by almost a week but also bloom the plants faster. That could be key as customers often want to buy their flowers in full bloom. “Everybody’s done research projects on putting pennies in the […]