Application of extra sulfur to high-sulfur soils does not increase pungency and related compounds in shortday onions Academic Article uri icon


  • Sulfur (S) nutrition has a strong influence on onion pungency, and the production of sweet onions in the high-sulfur soil of Texas is a challenge to growers. This study was performed to determine the effects of S applications to fields already having sufficient levels of soil S on pungency and related compounds in four shortday onion cultivars. The onion cultivars 'Cougar', 'Legend', 'Texas Early White', and 'Texas Grano 1015Y' were grown in three commercial fields at Edinburg, Mercedes, and Weslaco of the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas with applications of sulfur at 0, 13, and 26 kg S/ha. Pyruvic acid, bulb weight, extractable S in soil and total S in bulb, soluble solids content (SSC), flavor precursor compounds [also called S-alk(en)yl-l-cysteine-sulfoxides (ACSOs)], and total sugars were measured. The pyruvic acid level of onions was not increased by the S applications and showed no significant correlation with soil S levels in any of the cultivars at locations having 30 or 235 ppm S. The SSC, total S in bulbs, total sugars, and total ACSO content also showed no correlation with the S applications and soil S levels. Onion pungency and content of flavor precursor compounds were significantly influenced by cultivar and cultivar location interaction. We conclude that onion pungency is not increased by application of extra S fertilizer to commercial fields already containing sufficient levels of soil sulfur. 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Lee, E. J., Yoo, K. S., Jifon, J., & Patil, B. S.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Lee, Eun Jin||Yoo, Kil Sun||Jifon, John||Patil, Bhimanagouda S

publication date

  • December 2009