Seed glucosinolate yield is maximized by higher rates of sulfur nutrition than required for seed yield in condiment mustard (Brassica juncea L.)
Borpatra Gohain, P, Rose, TJ, Liu, L, Raymond, CA, Barkla, BJ & King, GH 2019, 'Seed glucosinolate yield is maximized by higher rates of sulfur nutrition than required for seed yield in condiment mustard (Brassica juncea L.)', PLoS One, vol. 14, no. 4.
Brassica crops require high amounts of inorganic sulfur (S) for optimum yield, and are characterized by the synthesis of S-rich glucosinolates (GSL). Although it is well established that seed and GSL yield can be increased by S fertilizer, the detailed relationship between S supply as primary source and the harvestable sinks of seed GSL and storage proteins is poorly understood. We tested the hypothesis that Brassica juncea mustard seed acts as a secondary S sink, and so require a higher rate of S to achieve maximum seed GSL compared to rates required to attain maximum seed biomass. Our experimental strategy involved comparing responses to available S for seed biomass, GSL, and protein. This was carried out in a protected environment using sand culture for a high-GSL condiment-type homozygous B. juncea genotype. A low-GSL canola-type was used as a control, in order to establish a base-line of response. Significantly more S was required to achieve maximum seed GSL than was required to achieve maximum seed mass. Total seed protein content was not significantly affected by increased S. The high-GSL line appeared to have an efficient mechanism of S supply to the secondary S sink, given the observed increase in seed S with increased S availability. From a practical point of view, increases in seed GSL with S availability suggests that S fertilizer rates should be optimized for maximum seed GSL yield, rather that optimizing for seed yield, as occurs for most other crops.