Net uptake of sulfate and its transport to the shoot in spinach plants fumigated with H2S or SO2. Does atmospheric sulfur affect the 'inter-organ' regulation of sulfur nutrition?
Spinach plants (Spinacea oleracea L. cv. Estivato) were grown on nutrient solutions under deficient, normal and excess sulfate supply. In both young and mature plants net uptake of sulfate and its transport to the shoot increased with increasing sulfate supply, but both processes proceeded at a higher rate in young as compared to mature plants. The relative sulfate transport, i.e. the relative amount of the sulfate taken up that is transported to the shoot, decreased with increasing sulfate supply. Apparently, net uptake of sulfate is not strictly controlled by the sulfur demand of the shoot, but xylem loading appears to counteract excess transport of sulfate to the shoot. Fumigation with H2S or SO2 reduced net uptake of sulfate by the roots in sulfur-deficient plants and absolute as well as relative sulfate transport to the shoot independent of the three sulfate levels supplied to the plant. At the same time thiol contents of the shoot and the root were enhanced by fumigation with H2S and SO2. These findings are consistent with the idea that thiols produced in the leaves can mediate demand-driven control of sulfate uptake by the roots and its transport to the shoot.