Aqueous smoke as a germination enhancer of Arabidopsis thaliana seeds

Katherine Barr, Melissa Jouen, Philip Lam, Parminder Nijjer


In this experiment, we investigated the effects of smoke-water extracts on the germination rate of Arabidopsis thaliana seeds of the Columbia (Col) ecotype. Smoke from burnt plant material contains chemicals called karrikins, a group of plant growth regulators found to potentially affect the germination rate of Arabidopsis thaliana. We applied smoke-water extracts to seeds as pre-germination treatments to determine if karrikins, presumed to be present in the smoke-water extract, could increase the rate of seed germination in Arabidopsis thaliana. The procedure consisted of generating a smoke-water extract by bubbling smoke (created by combusting xylose and glycine) through distilled water at a controlled flow rate, and then applying different dilutions of the smoke-water extracts to seeds before germination. Results suggested that there were significant differences in germination percentage (%) between the 1:10 smoke treatment and the water control after 5 days of incubation at 17°C with a 14 hour photoperiod. Our analyses revealed that Arabidopsis thaliana seeds can be forced to germinate faster when treated with specific dilutions of smoke-water extracts. The Arabidopsis thaliana seeds treated with the second highest concentration of smoke extract (1:10 dilution) used in this study demonstrated the fastest initiation rates of germination and photosynthesis.

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