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How do plants respond biochemically to fire? Biosynthesis of photosynthetic pigments and secondary metabolites in response to this disturbance
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  • Ana Santacruz García,
  • Mónica Nazareno,
  • Sandra Bravo,
  • Elisa García
Ana Santacruz García
CONICET
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Mónica Nazareno
CONICET
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Sandra Bravo
Universidad Nacional de Santiago del Estero
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Elisa García
Universidad Nacional de Santiago del Estero Facultad de Agronomia y Agroindustrias
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Abstract

Fire-prone ecosystems and their vegetation have evolved in response to this disturbance. Stress produced by fires promotes the biosynthesis of secondary metabolites which could alter subsequent fire regimes. The aim of this work was to evaluate the variation in the biosynthesis of chlorophylls, carotenoids, phenolic compounds and tannins in response to fire. Leaves of six native species were selected and three experimental burns (EB) were conducted. Spectrophotometric methods were used to quantify the metabolites. As results, a temporary variation on the biosynthesis of chlorophylls and secondary metabolites in response to fire was found. Chlorophylls and carotenoid contents decreased within a short temporal scale, but their concentrations returned to pre-event conditions one-year after disturbance. Concentrations of phenolic compounds and tannins in burnt plants increased up to two years after EB. The fast-metabolic response evidenced the plant tolerance to fire. These metabolites could be used as bioindicators of vegetation resilience after fire.