, 14:143 | Cite as

NMR-based metabolomics reveals that plant-derived smoke stimulates root growth via affecting carbohydrate and energy metabolism in maize

  • Şükrü Serter Çatav
  • Emine Sonay Elgin
  • Çağdaş Dağ
  • Jaime L. Stark
  • Köksal KüçükakyüzEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Plant metabolomics and lipidomics



It is well known that plant-derived smoke stimulates seed germination and seedling growth in many plants. Although a number of transcriptomics and proteomics studies have been carried out to understand the mode of action of smoke, less is known about the biochemical alterations associated with smoke exposure in plants.


The aims of this study were (1) to determine the metabolic alterations in maize roots pre-treated with various concentrations of smoke solution, and (2) to identify the smoke-responsive metabolic pathways during early root growth period.


Maize seeds were pre-treated with different concentrations of smoke solutions for 24 h and then grown for 10 days. 600-MHz 1H NMR spectroscopy was performed on the aqueous root extracts of maize seedlings. The metabolite data obtained from the NMR spectra were analyzed by several statistical and functional methods, including one-way ANOVA, PCA, PLS-DA and pathway analysis.


Our study identified a total of 29 metabolites belonging to various chemical groups. Concentrations of 20 out of these 29 metabolites displayed significant (p < 0.05) changes after at least one smoke pre-treatment compared to the control. Moreover, functional analyses revealed that smoke pre-treatments markedly affected the carbohydrate- and energy-related metabolic pathways, such as galactose metabolism, glycolysis, glyoxylate metabolism, tricarboxylic acid cycle, and starch/sucrose metabolism.


To our knowledge, this is the first study that investigates smoke-induced biochemical alterations in early root growth period using NMR spectroscopy. Our findings clearly indicate that smoke either directly or indirectly influences many metabolic processes in maize roots.


Smoke Root growth NMR spectroscopy Metabolomics Maize 



This work is a part of Ph.D. thesis of the first author, funded by the Scientific Research Projects Coordination Unit of Muğla Sıtkı Koçman University (Grant Numbers: 13/02 and 15/153). This study made use of the National Magnetic Resonance Facility at Madison, which is supported by NIH Grant P41GM103399 (NIGMS), old number: P41RR002301. Equipment was purchased with funds from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the NIH (P41GM103399, S10RR02781, S10RR08438, S10RR023438, S10RR025062, S10RR029220), the NSF (DMB-8415048, OIA-9977486, BIR-9214394), and the USDA.

Author contributions

ŞSÇ, ÇD, ESE and KK designed the experiments, ŞSÇ and ÇD performed the experiments, JLS and ÇD carried out the acquisition of the NMR data, ŞSÇ and ESE analyzed the data and wrote the first draft. All authors critically revised, read, and approved the final version of manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

11306_2018_1440_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 21 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Şükrü Serter Çatav
    • 1
  • Emine Sonay Elgin
    • 2
  • Çağdaş Dağ
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jaime L. Stark
    • 4
  • Köksal Küçükakyüz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Botany, Department of BiologyMuğla Sıtkı Koçman UniversityMuğlaTurkey
  2. 2.Division of Biochemistry, Department of ChemistryMuğla Sıtkı Koçman UniversityMuğlaTurkey
  3. 3.Department of Molecular and Cellular BiochemistryIndiana University BloomingtonBloomingtonUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiochemistryUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

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