Oil rose flowers were stored at 0 degrees C in four different packaging materials [plastic box + stretch film (PB + SF), Xtend (R), Smartbage (R) and polyethylene (PE)] for 60 days. During storage, weight loss, O(2) and CO(2) concentrations in the packages, petal color and sensorial attributes were investigated besides essential oil content and composition. Storage duration and packages had significant (p < 0.01) effects on weight loss. At the end of storage, the lowest weight loss was in PE package (1.696%) whereas the highest weight loss was in Xtend (R) (10.081%). The essential oil content was significantly (p < 0.01) affected by storage duration and packages. In addition, the essential oil contents obtained from all packages for a storage period of 10 days and the essential oil contents obtained from unstored (control) petals were included in the same group. At the end of storage, the essential oil contents decreased by 91.3, 57.7, 80.0 and 64.3% in PB + SF, Xtend (R), Smartbag (R) and PE packages, respectively as compared to control. In addition, storage duration and package types significantly (p < 0.01) affected petal color, O(2) and CO(2) concentrations in the packages and sensorial scores. The concentration of citronellol, a main component of rose oil, increased in all packages during storage of 10 days in comparison to the control group while it varied in other storage durations and package types. However, nerol and geraniol were lower than the control group during storage while concentrations of nonadecane, heneicosane and eicosane were higher. In conclusion, loss of oil yield and quality, due to various reasons and particularly due to fermentation in oil rose from the harvest of petals to their distillation, can be minimized with storage of petals in all package types for up to 10 days. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.