Plants go hormonal

Guido Pauli of the University of Illinois, Chicago and colleagues, have for the first time isolated small quantities of the mammalian steroid hormone, progesterone and novel sulfates of progesterone-like compounds from plants and identified its presence definitively using mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy. Earlier research had hinted at the presence of this compound in Mexican yams and walnut tree leaves. Progesterone has several roles in mammalian physiology, it is not yet clear what its biochemical role might be in plants.