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The Effect of Granular Commercial Fertilizers Containing Elemental Sulfur on Wheat Yield under Mediterranean Conditions

1
Plant Physiology and Morphology Laboratory, Crop Science Department, Agricultural University of Athens, 11855 Athens, Greece
2
Soil Science Laboratory, Department of Hydraulics, Soil Science and Agricultural Engineering, School of Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 54124 Thessaloniki, Greece
3
Center for Microscopy and Imaging, Baylor University, One Bear Place 97046, Waco, TX 76798-7046, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 November 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 20 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Plant Sulfur Research)
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Abstract

The demand to develop fertilizers with higher sulfur use efficiency has intensified over the last decade, since sulfur deficiency in crops has become more widespread. The aim of this study was to investigate whether fertilizers enriched with 2% elemental sulfur (ES) via a binding material of organic nature improve yield when compared to the corresponding conventional ones. Under the scanning electron microscope, the granules of the ES-containing fertilizer were found to be covered by a layer of crystal-like particles, the width of which was found to be up to 60 μm. Such a layer could not be found on the corresponding conventional fertilizer granules. Several fertilization schemes with or without incorporated ES were tested in various durum wheat varieties, cultivated in commercial fields. The P-Olsen content of each commercial field was found to be correlated with the corresponding relative change in the yields (YF/YFBES) with a strong positive relationship. The content of 8 ppm of available soil phosphorus was a turning point. At higher values the incorporation of ES in the fertilization scheme resulted in higher yield, while at lower values it resulted in lower yield, compared with the conventional one. The experimental field trials that established following a randomized block design, were separated in two groups: One with P-Olsen ranging between 18–22 ppm and the other between 12–15 ppm, the results of which corroborated the aforementioned finding. The use of ES in all portions of fertilization schemes provided higher relative yields. The coexistence of ES with sulfate in the granule was more efficient in terms of yield, when compared to the granule enriched with ES alone under the same fertilization scheme and agronomic practice. The application of fertilizer mixtures containing the urease inhibitor N-(n-butyl) thiophosphoric triamide (NBPT), ES and ammonium sulfate resulted in even higher relative yields. Yield followed a positive linear relationship with the number of heads per square meter. In this correlation, the P-Olsen content separated the results of the two groups of blocks, where the applied linear trend line in each group presented the same slope. View Full-Text
Keywords: elemental sulfur; granular S containing fertilizers; durum wheat; yield; NBPT elemental sulfur; granular S containing fertilizers; durum wheat; yield; NBPT
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Bouranis, D.L.; Gasparatos, D.; Zechmann, B.; Bouranis, L.D.; Chorianopoulou, S.N. The Effect of Granular Commercial Fertilizers Containing Elemental Sulfur on Wheat Yield under Mediterranean Conditions. Plants 2019, 8, 2.

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