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Review

Revisiting Sulphur—The Once Neglected Nutrient: It’s Roles in Plant Growth, Metabolism, Stress Tolerance and Crop Production

by 1,2,3,4, 1,2,3, 1,2,3 and 1,2,3,*
1
State Key Laboratory of North China Crop Improvement and Regulation, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding 071001, China
2
North China Key Laboratory for Crop Germplasm Resources of the Education Ministry, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding 071001, China
3
Department of Crop Genetics and Breeding, College of Agronomy, Hebei Agricultural University, Baoding 071001, China
4
Department of Crop Science, Faculty of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Bindura University of Science Education, Bindura P. Bag 1020, Zimbabwe
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Pavel Krasilnikov, Miguel A. Taboada and Amanullah
Agriculture 2021, 11(7), 626; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11070626
Received: 28 May 2021 / Revised: 28 June 2021 / Accepted: 29 June 2021 / Published: 3 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fertilizer Use, Soil Health and Agricultural Sustainability)
Sulphur plays crucial roles in plant growth and development, with its functions ranging from being a structural constituent of macro-biomolecules to modulating several physiological processes and tolerance to abiotic stresses. In spite of these numerous sulphur roles being well acknowledged, agriculture has paid scant regard for sulphur nutrition, until only recently. Serious problems related to soil sulphur deficiencies have emerged and the intensification of food, fiber, and animal production is escalating to feed the ever-increasing human population. In the wake of huge demand for high quality cereal and vegetable diets, sulphur can play a key role in augmenting the production, productivity, and quality of crops. Additionally, in light of the emerging problems of soil fertility exhaustion and climate change-exacerbated environmental stresses, sulphur assumes special importance in crop production, particularly under intensively cropped areas. Here, citing several relevant examples, we highlight, in addition to its plant biological and metabolism functions, how sulphur can significantly enhance crop productivity and quality, as well as acclimation to abiotic stresses. By this appraisal, we also aim to stimulate readers interests in crop sulphur research by providing priorities for future pursuance, including bettering our understanding of the molecular processes and dynamics of sulphur availability and utilization in plants, dissecting the role of soil rhizospherical microbes in plant sulphur transformations, enhancing plant phenotyping and diagnosis for nutrient deficiencies, and matching site-specific crop sulphur demands with fertilizer amendments in order to reduce nutrient use inefficiencies in both crop and livestock production systems. This will facilitate the proper utilization of sulphur in crop production and eventually enhance sustainable and environmentally friend food production. View Full-Text
Keywords: sulphur; crop productivity; crop quality; sulphate transporters; secondary sulphur compounds; abiotic stress tolerance; crop production sulphur; crop productivity; crop quality; sulphate transporters; secondary sulphur compounds; abiotic stress tolerance; crop production
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MDPI and ACS Style

Zenda, T.; Liu, S.; Dong, A.; Duan, H. Revisiting Sulphur—The Once Neglected Nutrient: It’s Roles in Plant Growth, Metabolism, Stress Tolerance and Crop Production. Agriculture 2021, 11, 626. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11070626

AMA Style

Zenda T, Liu S, Dong A, Duan H. Revisiting Sulphur—The Once Neglected Nutrient: It’s Roles in Plant Growth, Metabolism, Stress Tolerance and Crop Production. Agriculture. 2021; 11(7):626. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11070626

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zenda, Tinashe, Songtao Liu, Anyi Dong, and Huijun Duan. 2021. "Revisiting Sulphur—The Once Neglected Nutrient: It’s Roles in Plant Growth, Metabolism, Stress Tolerance and Crop Production" Agriculture 11, no. 7: 626. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture11070626

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