Sulphur (S) in soils is found soil in organic matter. However, it is not available to plants in this form. In order to become available to plants, the sulfur must be first released from the organic matter and go through mineralization process.

The mineralization process is a result of microbial activity. In this process sulfur is converted to the sulfate form (SO4-2), which is readily available to plants.

Sulfur has a negative charge so it is not attracted to clay and it is easily leachable. Good organic matter levels help to hold on Sulfur.


Illustration of the sulfur cycle in soil with plant cover (J. Gahan and A. Schmalenberger, 2014)

Functions of Sulfur

Sulfur is essential for plant growth and functioning. Sulfate taken up by the roots is the primary sulfur source for growth, but additionally plants are able to utilize absorbed sulfur gases by the shoot.

Sulfur improves the efficiency of other essential plant nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorus.

Sulfur can be used as pesticide in regenerative agriculture as it is biocidal and required for Sulphur Induced Resistance (SIR).

Sulfur deficiency in plants Sulfur deficiency* in animals
The plants turn yellow Decreased wool production
Reduced Phosphorus and Nitrogen uptakes Retarded growth
Clovers grow better in urine patches *Excessive sulfur may induce copper/selenium deficiency in cattle
Slow pasture growth
Poor protein levels


Symptoms of Sulfur deficiency in corn

Sulphur as a chemical element

Sulphur is a chemical element with the symbol S and atomic number 16. It is abundant, multivalent, and nonmetallic. Under normal conditions, Sulphur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with a chemical formula S8. Elemental Sulphur is a bright yellow, crystalline solid at room temperature.

Sulphur is an essential element for all life, but almost always in the form of organosulfur compounds or metal sulfides. Three amino acids (cysteine, cystine, and methionine) and two vitamins (biotin and thiamine) are organosulfur compounds. Many cofactors also contain sulfur, including glutathione, thioredoxin, and iron–sulfur proteins. Disulfides, S–S bonds, confer mechanical strength and insolubility of the protein keratin, found in outer skin, hair, and feathers.

Sulphur is one of the core chemical elements needed for biochemical functioning and is an elemental macronutrient for all living organisms.

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