The aroma of the soil that spreads around when the drops of first rain after a long dry period pour on the soil. I just love it.
But what causes that distinctive smell which I guess most of us likes??
This aroma is known as “Petrichor” and is contributed by number of factors, these include the oil secreted by the plants during the dry season, chemical compounds secreted by bacteria and splitting of atmospheric chemical to form ozone.
Bacteria :- Soil dwelling bacteria called Actinomycetes secrete Geosmin , which has an earthy aroma when they produce spores in the soil. Rain can disturb that compound spreading the scent.
Oil secreted by plants :- Plants secrete oil in dry period which accumulate in soil and rocks. The smaller volatile compounds created by the oxidation of fats in the oil is released by rain contributes to that lovely aroma.
Ozone : In stormy weather , electrical charge can split nitrogen and oxygen in the atmospehere into individual atoms, this can combine to form nitric oxide, this can react with other chemicals in the atmosphere and forms ozone, which can be carried down from higher altitudes by thunderstrom ,causing the pre-rain aroma.
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