From the Field-Agronomy Notes
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Tobacco Research Update: Sulfur Deficiency of Tobacco
In this tobacco research update, we highlight the symptoms of sulfur deficiency. These images are part of a project supported by the North Carolina Tobacco Foundation to develop a web-based diagnostic key for the identification of nutrient disorders of tobacco.
Sulfur (S) deficiency can easily be mistaken for nitrogen (N) deficiency in tobacco. The ability to distinguish between the two is very important to properly diagnose the symptoms associated with this nutritional disorder.
Sulfur deficiency in tobacco begins as an overall chlorosis of the foliage (Fig. 1). This symptom differs from N deficiency in the fact that the yellowing begins in the central foliage and works its way up the plant (Fig. 2). The chlorosis that occurs with N deficiency starts distinctly on the bottom foliage and symptoms progress sequentially up the leaves.
As S deficiency progresses, symptomatic leaves become more chlorotic, and the chlorosis spreads throughout more of the foliage (Fig 3.). These intermediate symptoms may include a mild stunting when compared to a healthy plant, but this stunting is not nearly as prominent as with N deficiency. It becomes easier to distinguish between S and N deficiency symptoms as the symptoms reach this intermediate stage. Sulfur deficiency is accompanied by a vibrant and uniform yellowing, while N deficiency symptoms display a lighter, bleached yellowing that is more pronounced on the lower leaves.
Advanced symptoms occur on nearly all of the vegetative tissue, including the stems. This overall chlorosis may be observed in the 360-degree image below (Fig. 4).
We would like to express our appreciation to the North Carolina Tobacco Foundation for supporting this project. We will be providing updates as symptoms progress over the course of the nutrient disorder induction phase of the experiment.
Key Contact: Dr. Matthew Vann, Department of Crop and Soil Science, firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributing Authors: Josh Henry, Paul Cockson, Matthew Vann, and Brian Whipker
Funding Source: North Carolina Tobacco Foundation
Project Team: Josh Henry (NC State M.S. student in Horticultural Science), Paul Cockson (NC State B.S. student in Agroecology), Ingram McCall (Research Technician in Horticultural Science), Rhonda Conlon (Extension IT at NC State), Matthew Vann (Tobacco Extension Specialist, Dept. of Crop and Soil Science), and Brian Whipker (Professor of Floriculture and Plant Nutrition in Horticultural Science).