Sulphur status in soil and its prominence in plants

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Sulphur (S) is crucial nutrient element for plants growth and development. The protein forming

sulphur nutrient, is 9th in the row of 17 essential nutrients. Sulphur is an imperative nutrient for

best plant growth: it is one of the fundamental macro elements essential for better plant growth.

Sulphur is a component of methionine and cysteine in plants.

Quality and yield of oil seed crop can affected due to inadequate supply of sulphur nutrient. It is also essential for more flowering

and seed set in canola. In legumes sulphur is necessary for the efficient fixation of nitrogen by

the plant. This makes sulphur of fundamental importance in the establishment and maintenance

of legume-based improved pastures. Sulphur is also an essential part of protein needed for wheat

grain to produce flour suitable for bread-making.

Sulphur is necessary for protein and enzyme synthesis as well it is a constituent of the amino

acids methionine and cysteine in plants. Sulphur is also a component of key enzymes and

vitamins in the plant and is necessary for the formation of chlorophyll.

In the last decades, deposition of sulphur (S) has come down by 30-40%, areas of sulphur

deficiency are becoming widespread throughout the world it is due to following reasons

 Use of high-analysis low sulphur fertilizers.

 Less sulphur revenues with farmyard manure.

 Intensive agriculture and high yielding varieties.

 Declining use of sulphur containing fungicides, and cheap atmospheric inputs caused by

stricter emission regulations.

Sulphur is significant nutritional element in plant and it deficiency shows following symptoms in


 Yellowing of leaves and interveinal chlorosis in plants, which is similar to nitrogen


 Sulfur deficient plants will grow slower and have a delayed maturity.

 The plants tend to develop thin stems and petioles, and become spindly.

 Younger leaves will show the deficiency first than the older leaves due to immobility of

sulphur in plants.

 Sulfur deficiency could occur early in the growing season when root systems in younger

plants not fully develop. Plants overcome the sulfur deficiency later in the season when

soil mineralization rates increase and a larger root explore a greater volume of soil.

Sulphur imparts deep rich green colour to plant canopy, especially in alfalfa, and is taken by

plants in sulphate (SO 4 2- ) form sulphate is moderately susceptible to leaching in sandy soils,

though not as much as nitrogen (N), due to formation of less soluble calcium sulphate in soils.

To overcome the problems associated with S deficiency a number of S-containing fertilizers as

well as other S containing by-products from industrial processes are available.


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