Smoke's secret life revealed

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Washington, January 28 (ANI): A new research by scientists, which has identified plant growth promoters and inhibitors in smoke, is revealing the innermost secrets of fire's role in the rebirth and renewal of forests and grasslands.

In the latest discovery about smoke's secret life, an international team of scientists are reporting discovery of a plant growth inhibitor in smoke.

"Smoke plays an intriguing role in promoting the germination of seeds of many species following a fire," according to Johannes Van Staden and colleagues.

They previously discovered a chemical compound in smoke from burning plants that promotes seed germination.

Such seeds, which remain in the undercover on forest and meadow floors after fires have been extinguished, are responsible for the surprisingly rapid regrowth of fire-devastated landscapes.

In their new research, the scientists report discovery of an inhibitor compound that may block the action of the stimulator, preventing germination of seeds.

They suspect that the compounds may be part of a carefully crafted natural regulatory system for repopulating fire-ravaged landscapes.

Interaction of these and other compounds may ensure that seeds remain dormant until environmental conditions are best for germination.

The inhibitor thus may delay germination of seeds until moisture and temperature are right, and then take a back seat to the germination promoter in smoke. (ANI)

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