Trace Gas Emissions and Smoke-Induced Seed Germination

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  23 May 1997:
Vol. 276, Issue 5316, pp. 1248-1250
DOI: 10.1126/science.276.5316.1248

You are currently viewing the abstract.

View Full Text


Dormant seeds of a California chaparral annual were induced to germinate by smoke or vapors emitted from smoke-treated sand or paper. Nitrogen oxides induced 100 percent germination in a manner similar to smoke. Smoke-treated water samples inducing germination were comparable in acidity and concentration of nitrate and nitrite to nitrogen dioxide (NO2)–treated samples. Vapors from smoke-treated and NO2-treated filter paper had comparable NO2flux rates. Chaparral wildfires generate sufficient nitrogen oxides from combustion of organic matter or from postfire biogenic nitrification to trigger germination of Emmenanthe penduliflora. Nitrogen oxide–triggered germination is not the result of changes in imbibition, as is the case with heat-stimulated seeds.

View Full Text