A time‐course study of the effect of sulphur on glucosinolates in oilseed rape (Brassica napus) from the vegetative stage to maturity

Elaine J. Booth*, Kerr C. Walker, D. Wynne Griffiths

*Corresponding author for this work

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Samples consisting of the whole above‐ground part of the oilseed rape plant (Brassica napus L), were taken every 2 weeks from before stem extension to maturity. The plants were separated into vegetative tissue, floral tissue, pods and seeds (when these components appeared), and the individual glucosinolates present were quantified by high performance liquid chromatography. A high glucosinolate variety (Rafal) and a low glucosinolate variety (Cobra) were compared. The effect of sulphur (32 kg ha−1 elemental sulphur applied at the beginning of stem extension) on the various parts of the plant was investigated. Total glucosinolate concentration in all plant parts was higher in Rafal than in Cobra. Glucosinolate concentration in the vegetation declined over time, most noticeably when the flowers and seeds were produced, and glucosinolate concentration of the pods also fell as that of the seeds rose. It is suggested that there may have been some redistribution of glucosinolates or glucosinolate precursors within the plant as maturity approached. Changes occurred in the proportions that individual glucosinolates contributed to the total glucosinolate content, and this may be relevant to plant/pathogen relationships. Sulphur application increased the glucosinolate concentration of the vegetative tissue by mid April and also increased the glucosinolate concentration of the flowers. It is suggested that this could affect the plant's resistance to disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)479-493
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Issue number4
Publication statusPrint publication - 1991



  • individual glucosinolates
  • Oilseed rape
  • sulphur
  • time‐course study
  • whole plant

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