, Volume 250, Issue 6, pp 2047–2062 | Cite as

Do nitrogen- and sulphur-remobilization-related parameters measured at the onset of the reproductive stage provide early indicators to adjust N and S fertilization in oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) grown under N- and/or S-limiting supplies?

  • Yacine Akmouche
  • Jeanne Cheneby
  • Mickael Lamboeuf
  • Nicolas Elie
  • Anne Laperche
  • Jessica Bertheloot
  • Philippe D’Hooghe
  • Jacques Trouverie
  • Jean-Christophe Avice
  • Philippe Etienne
  • Sophie Brunel-MuguetEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

Specific combinations of physiological and molecular parameters associated with N and S remobilization measured at the onset of flowering were predictive of final crop performances in oilseed rape.


Oilseed rape (Brassica napus L.) is a high nitrogen (N) and sulphur (S) demanding crop. Nitrogen- and S-remobilization processes allow N and S requirements to reproductive organs to be satisfied when natural uptake is reduced, thus ensuring high yield and seed quality. The quantification of physiological and molecular indicators of early N and S remobilization could be used as management tools to correct N and S fertilization. However, the major limit of this corrective strategy is to ensure the correlation between final performances-related variables and early measured parameters. In our study, four genotypes of winter oilseed rape (OSR) were grown until seed maturity under four nutritional modalities combining high and/or low N and S supplies. Plant final performances, i.e., seed production, N- and S-harvest indexes, seed N and S use efficiencies, and early parameters related to N- or S-remobilization processes, i.e., photosynthetic leaf area, N and S leaf concentrations, leaf soluble protein and leaf sulphate concentrations, and leaf RuBisCO abundance at flowering, were measured. We demonstrated that contrasting final performances existed according to the N and S supplies. An optimal N:S ratio supply could explain the treatment-specific crop performances, thus justifying N and S concurrent managements. Specific combinations of early measured plant parameters could be used to predict final performances irrespective of the nutritional supply and the genotype. This work demonstrates the potential of physiological and molecular indicators measured at flowering to reflect the functioning of N- and S-compound remobilization and to predict yield and quality penalties. However, because the predictive models are N and S independent, instant N and S leaf analyses are required to further adjust the adequate fertilization. This study is a proof of a concept which opens prospects regarding instant diagnostic tools in the context of N and S mineral fertilization management.


Fertilization Genotype Indicators Nitrogen Oilseed rape Remobilization RuBisCO Sulphur 



Degree day


Harvest index


High nitrogen/high sulphur


Low nitrogen/low sulphur


Large/small subunits of RuBisCO


Nitrogen/sulphur harvest index


Oilseed rape


Projected surface


Soluble protein



The authors thank the BrACySol (Center of biological resources in INRA Rennes, France) for providing the seeds. They are grateful to C. Salon, C. Bernard, K. Palavioux, C. Jeudy, F. Zenk, D. Girondé, and N. El-Miyad for their helpful advice and technical assistance in the 4PMI. They are also very grateful to J. Pichon, M. Bodereau, J. Bonnefoy, and M. Hodel for plant sample preparation and B. Andrieu for his helpful comments on the experimental design and on the manuscript. They also thank PLATIN’, the Plateau d’Isotopie de Normandie ICORE facility for performing the elemental analyses. They eventually thank S. Lavenant-Lemauviel for her helpful advice to perform the correlation and principal component analyses. Genergy and Rapsodyn projects funded by National Research Agency (ANR) and the French program “Investments for the Future”.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yacine Akmouche
    • 1
  • Jeanne Cheneby
    • 2
  • Mickael Lamboeuf
    • 2
  • Nicolas Elie
    • 3
  • Anne Laperche
    • 4
  • Jessica Bertheloot
    • 5
  • Philippe D’Hooghe
    • 1
  • Jacques Trouverie
    • 1
  • Jean-Christophe Avice
    • 1
  • Philippe Etienne
    • 1
  • Sophie Brunel-Muguet
    • 1
    Email author
  2. 2.UMR Agroécologie, AgroSup Dijon, INRAUniversité Bourgogne Franche-ComtéDijonFrance
  4. 4.IGEPP, Université de Rennes 1, Agrocampus, INRALe RheuFrance
  5. 5.IRHS, Université Angers, Agrocampus, INRABeaucouzéFrance

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