Smoke water

Tim Eck
Thu, 13 Nov 2014 03:10:16 PST
Below is from Science Dec 23 2010

A Compound from Smoke That
Promotes Seed Germination
Gavin R. Flematti,1* Emilio L. Ghisalberti,1 Kingsley W. Dixon,2,3
Robert D. Trengove4

Smoke derived from burning plant material
has been found to increase germination of a
wide range of plant species from Australia,
North America, and South Africa (1). We
now report the identity of a compound,
present in plant- and cellulose-derived
smoke, that promotes germination of a variety
of smoke-responsive taxa at a level similar
to that of plant-derived smoke water.
The separation of the bioactive agent was facilitated
by bioassay-guided fractionation with
Lactuca sativa L. cv. Grand Rapids (2) and two
smoke-responsive Australian species, Conostylis
aculeata R. Br. (Haemodoraceae) and Stylidium
affine Sonder. (Stylidiaceae) (3). Extensive fractionation
of the relatively less complex, cellulosederived
smoke (from combustion of filter paper)
resulted in the isolation of a compound that promotes
seed germination (4). The structure of this
compound was elucidated from mass spectrometry
(MS) and spectroscopic data obtained by
H, 13C, and two-dimensional (homonuclear correlation,
heteronuclear single-quantum coherence,
heteronuclear multi-bond correlation, and nuclear
resonance (NMR) techniques. Confirmation of
the structure as the butenolide 3-methyl-2Hfuro[2,3-c]pyran-2-one
(1) (Scheme
1) was achieved by synthesis. The
presence of1 in extracts of plantderived
smoke was confirmed by gas
chromatography–MS analysis.
We compared the activity of the
synthetic form of the butenolide (1)
with that of plant-derived smoke water
by testing it at a range of concentrations
with the three bioassay species. We compared the activity of the
synthetic form of the butenolide (1)
with that of plant-derived smoke water
by testing it at a range of concentrations
with the three bioassay species. The results
(Fig. 1) show that1 stimulated the germination
of each test species to a level similar to that
achieved with plant-derived smoke water. Furthermore,
activity is demonstrated at very low
concentrations (1 ppb, 109 M). Testing of
other smoke-responsive Australian species and
smoke-responsive South African (e.g., Syncarpha
vestita) and North American (e.g., Emmenanthe
penduliflora and Nicotiana attenuata) species has
further confirmed the activity of1 (table S1).
The butenolide (1) conforms to the necessary
ecological attributes of smoke that is produced
from fires in natural environments. For example,
the butenolide (1) is stable at high temperatures
active at a wide range of concentrations (1 ppm to
100 ppt), and capable of germinating a wide
range of fire-following species. The butenolide
is derived from the combustion of cellulose,
which, as a component of all plants, represents
a universal combustion substrate
that would be present in
natural fires.
Given the broad and emerging
use of smoke as an ecological and
restoration tool (1), the identification
of 1 as a main contributor to the
germination-promoting activity of
smoke could provide benefits for
horticulture, agriculture, mining, and disturbedland
restoration. In addition, the mode of
action and mechanism by which1 stimulates germination
can now be investigated. In this context,
it is useful to note that the natural product ()strigol,
which promotes the germination of the
parasitic weed Striga (5), is active at similar concentrations
(109 M) and contains a butenolide
moiety and additional conjugated functionality
similar to those in1.
References and Notes
1. N. A. C. Brown, J. Van Staden, Plant Growth Regul.22,
115 (1997).
2. F. E. Drewes, M. T. Smith, J. Van Staden, Plant Growth
Regul. 16, 205 (1995).
3. S. Roche, K. W. Dixon, J. S. Pate,Aust.J.Bot.45, 783 (1997).
4. Materials and methods are available as supporting
material on Science Online.
5. S. C. M. Wigchert, B. Zwanenburg, J. Agric. Food
Chem. 47, 1320 (1999).
6. We thank L. T. Byrne for assistance with the structural
elucidation of the active compound, D. Wege and S. K.
Brayshaw for assistance with the synthetic approach, S. R.
Turner and D. J. Merritt for assistance with germination
trials, and Alcoa World Alumina and Iluka Resources for
providing seeds of native species for testing.
Supporting Online Material…
Materials and Methods
Table S1
4 May 2004; accepted 25 June 2004
Published online 8 July 2004;
Include this information when citing this paper.
School of Biomedical and Chemical Sciences, 2School of
Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia,
Crawley, WA 6009, Australia. 3Kings Park and Botanic
Garden, West Perth, WA 6005, Australia. 4School of
Engineering Science, Murdoch University, Rockingham,
WA 6168, Australia.
*To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email:
Scheme 1.

pbs mailing list

More information about the pbs mailing list