Sulfur in agriculture

Sulfur in agriculture

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How it is done and where it is

Sulfur is a mineral that occurs naturally in solid form, with an intense yellow color. The molecular structure is composed of 8 atoms and is, under normal conditions, a rather stable mineral. In the periodic table of the elements it is indicated with the letter S. It can be found near hot water springs, in the sulfur springs (detectable deposits in sedimentary rocks) and in the sulphates (the mouth of the volcano from which gases and vapors escape). By binding with other elements, it can give rise to inorganic compounds such as sulfur dioxide (sulfur plus oxygen) and sulfite and sulfate salts. Sulfur has an important role in the structure of proteins, since by binding to amino acids it ensures the stability of the shape in space. Present in vitamins, it is therefore also found in organic materials, which is why it can participate in fossilization processes.

Use in agriculture

The sulfur in agriculture it is used as a fungicide, insecticide and fertilizer. In its pure state and in powder form, it is used to eliminate parasitic fungi, since it acts on the cells by dehydrating them and preventing the fungus from receiving oxygen, but it does not damage the plant, so it is not toxic and can be used in cultivation as a natural remedy. Calcium polysulfide, a compound of sulfur and calcium, in liquid form is used to eliminate insects that infest plants, such as cochineal. Salt, in the form of sulfur sulfate, is a nutrient element for plants, which is used as a fertilizer because it improves the quality of the crops. The use of sulfur in agriculture has been tested for millennia, in fact the ancient Greeks already knew the disinfesting qualities. It can also be used as a preventive measure against pests.

Forms in which it is found

Sulfur in nature is in the solid state, but it is possible to work the mineral according to the different uses for which it is used. In fact, on the market you can find 3 different forms of worked sulfur: in dry powder, in wettable and liquid powders. Dried powders are used directly, and can be low in sulfur, refined, or combined with carbon black from vegetable fats, for a more aggressive action. Wettable powders are granules subjected to chemical processes which make them usable together with the liquids added subsequently. Liquids are widely used for the ease with which they can be distributed in industrial crops. The mineral can be used on many crops, outdoors or in greenhouses. It is not possible to use it at home. It should be remembered that the action of sulfur is inversely proportional to the presence of humidity.

Sulfur in agriculture: Impact on the environment

Sulfur is a natural mineral and its reuse in land processing is not particularly harmful to the ecosystem. Low danger also for humans and mammals in general. However, there are some non-harmful insects that suffer from the use of sulfur and they are hymenoptera, phytoseiid mites, mirids and anthocorides. Also on plants the impact is not toxic, since the action of sulfur is not penetrative, in fact it can be used in almost all crops, except for some fruit trees. It should be avoided for some species of apple, pear, peach and should never be used on any apricot species. Sulfur is a rather stable mineral, but in the presence of high temperatures it can become harmful to plants, so it is advisable to carry out treatments during the coolest hours of the day, to avoid damaging the crops.


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