Sulfur (S) is unique in having changed within just a few years, from being viewed as an undesired pollutant to being seen as a major nutrient limiting plant production in Western Europe. In East Asia, where, under current legislative restrictions, sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions are expected to increase further by 34% by 2030 (1), considerations of sulfur pollution are a major issue. Similarly in Europe, sulfur is still associated with its once detrimental effects on forests which peaked in the 1970s (2), and which gave this element the name 'yellow poison.'With Clean Air Acts coming into force at the start of the 1980s, atmospheric sulfur depositions were reduced drastically and rapidly in Western Europe, and declined further in the 1990s after the political transition of Eastern European countries. In arable production, sulfur deficiency can be retraced to the beginning of the 1980s (3). Since then, severe sulfur deficiency has become the main nutrient disorder of agricultural crops in Western Europe. It has been estimated that the worldwide sulfur fertilizer deficit will reach 11 million tons per year by 2012, with Asia (6 million tons) and the Americas ( 2.3 million tons) showing the highest shortage (4).
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