Plant and Soil

, Volume 72, Issue 1, pp 117–125

The interaction of atmospheric and soil sulfur on the sulfur and selenium concentration of range plants

  • D. G. Milchunas
  • W. K. Lauenroth
  • J. L. Dodd


A native northern mixed prairie, Montana, U.S.A., was exposed to three controlled levels of sulfur dioxide and subplots fertilized with sulfur and/or selenium. Plant species that accumulated relatively greater quantities of soil sulfur did not necessarily accumulate relatively greater quantities of atmospheric sulfur, andvisa versa. Plant-sulfur concentrations increased with increasing time and level of exposure, but the rate of increase in plant-sulfur concentrations decreased with increasing SO2 concentration. Plants exposed to the high-SO2 concentration tended to have lower sulfur concentrations when growing in the sulfur-or the selenium-fertilized plots. High soil selenium caused a reduction in plant-sulfur content, but a decrease in plant selenium concentration with high soil sulfur could be detected only when comparing plants on the selenium and sulfur plus selenium plots, where high plant selenium concentrations were encountered.

Key words

Atmosphere Selenium Sulfur Sulfur dioxide 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ammerman C B and Miller S M 1975 Selenium in ruminant nutrition: a review. J. Dairy Sci. 58, 1561–1577.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson M S, Laken H W, Beeson K C, Smith F F and Thacker E 1961 Selenium in Agriculture. Agric. Handbook No. 200, 65 p. USDA-ARS, Washington DC.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Davis D D and Wilhour R G 1976 Susceptibility of Woody Plants to Sulfur Dioxide and Photochemical Oxidants. EPA Ecological Research Series. 72 p. EPA-600 3-76-102.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dodd J L, Lauenroth W K and Heitschmidt R K 1982 Effects of controlled SO2 exposure on net primary production and plant biomass dynamics. J. Range Manage. 35, 572–579.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gissel-Nielsen G 1971 Selenium content of some fertilizers and their influence on uptake of selenium in plants. J. Agric. Food Chem. 19, 564–566.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Harborne J B 1977 Introduction to Ecological Biochemistry. Academic Press. London.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Jones J B and Isaac R A 1972 Determination of sulfur in plant material using a Leco sulfur analyzer. J. Agric. Food Chem. 20, 1292–1294.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Jones M B and Woodmansee R G 1979 Biogeochemical cycling in annual grassland ecosystems. Bot. Rev. 45, 111–144.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Lauenroth W K, Bicak C J and Dodd J L 1979 Sulfur accumulation in western wheatgrass exposed to three controlled SO2 concentrations. Plant and Soil 53, 131–136.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Lockyer D R, Cowling D W and Jones L H P 1976 A system for exposing plants to atmospheres containing low concentrations of sulphur dioxide. J. Exp. Bot. 27, 397–409.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Majernik O and Mansfield T A 1970 Direct effect of sulfur dioxide pollution on the degree of opening of stomata. Nature, London 227, 377–378.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Milchunas D G, Lauenroth W K, Dodd J L and Heasley J E 1983 The deposition, distribution, and temporal dynamics of sulfur in a mixed prairie exposed to controlled levels of SO2. Ecol. Monogr. (In press).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Milchunas D G, Lauenroth W K, Dodd J L and McNary T J 1981 Effects of SO2 exposure with nitrogen and sulfur fertilization on the growth ofAgropyron smithii. J. Appl. Ecol. 18, 291–302.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Preston E M and Lee J J 1982 Design and performance of a field exposure system for evaluation of the ecological effects of SO2 on native grassland. Eviron. Monitoring Assessment 1, 213–228.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rosenfeld I and Beath O A 1964 Selenium-Geobotany, Biochemistry, Toxicity, and Nutrition. Academic Press, New York, 371 p.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Schiff J A and Hodson R C 1973 The metabolism of sulfate. Annu. Rev. Plant Physiol. 24, 381–414.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Singh M and Singh N 1979 The effect of forms of selenium on the accumulation of selenium, sulfur, and forms of nitrogen and phosphorus in forage cowpea (Vigna sinensis). Soil Sci. 127, 264–269.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Underwood E J 1962 Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition. Academic Press, New York, 362 p.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Underwood E J 1971 Trace Elements in Human and Animal Nutrition. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Whanger P D 1970 Sulphur-selenium relationships in animal nutrition. Sulphur Inst. J. 6, 6–10.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ziegler I 1975 The effect of SO2 pollution on plant metabolism. Residue Rev. 56, 79–105.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff/Dr W. Junk Publishers 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. G. Milchunas
    • 1
  • W. K. Lauenroth
    • 1
  • J. L. Dodd
    • 1
  1. 1.Natural Resource Ecology LaboratoryColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA

Personalised recommendations