The biological oxidation of hydrogen sulphide by aerobic Thiobacillus-like bacteria has been described. The hydrogen sulphide is oxidised into sulphur particles which are in the submicron range. The colloidal properties of these sulphur particles are compared with those of a standard LaMer sulphur sol. The biologically produced sulphur particles are composed of a core of elemental sulphur covered by a layer of natural charged polymers, presumably proteins. The polymer layer renders the particles hydrophilic. Colloidal stability can be attributed mainly to steric repulsion. Although the electrokinetic charge is always negative with varying pH, the point of zero charge is found at pH 5.8. This indicates that the polymeric molecules are oriented with their negative charges to the bulk solution. An expanded-bed reactor was developed in order to stimulate the aggregation of the sulphur particles into large, well-settleable sulphur flocs with a diameter of about 3 mm.
A currently emerging sulfur isotope record for Phanerozoic seawater, based on structurally substituted sulfate in stratigraphically well constrained biogenic carbonates, allows the detailed assessment of secular variations within the global sulfur cycle and the interaction between the sulfur and carbon cycles. It is superior to the evaporite-based dataset because it enables sampling of the entire biostratigraphic column. Discrete biological and environmental signals can be deciphered from a somewhat “noisy” sulfur isotope record for sedimentary biogenic pyrite. These include a maximum isotopic fractionation around −51‰ which appears to be constant throughout the entire Phanerozoic. Observable large spreads of δ34Ssulfide for any given sedimentary unit are caused by environmental parameters, such as type and availability of organic carbon or availability of sulfate. In particular, the growing importance of land plants and their impact on the amount of metabolizable organic substrate affects the sulfide sulfur isotopic composition.
The production of clean diesel by hydrotreating and deep hydrodesulfurization (HDS) has attracted increased attention recently due to the introduction of new environmental legislation regarding fuel specifications. In order to meet the specifications there is a need to modify and improve existing reactors and processes and to introduce more active and selective catalysts. The removal of sterically hindered sulfur-containing molecules is observed to be a key issue for deep HDS. Also the choice of operation conditions and reactor internals play an important role for deep HDS. The present article will focus on key hydrotreating options available to obtain ultra low sulfur diesel levels and some of the theoretical and experimental structure–activity relationships which may aid catalyst developments.
Sulfur cycling in Fe-poor, organic-rich shelf carbonates, known to have rapid rates of SO4−2 reduction, remains poorly studied despite the volumetric significance of shelf deposits in modern and ancient carbon budgets. We investigated sulfur cycling in modern carbonates of the Florida Platform from end-member depositional environments (muddy sands from the Atlantic reef tract and finer-grained mudbank and island flank deposits from Florida Bay). Relations between pore water chemistry (SO4−2, ΣCO2, Ca−2/Cl−) and oxygen and sulfur stable isotope compositions of SO4−2 require direct coupling between sulfur redox cycling and syndepositional carbonate dissolution. Oxygen isotope compositions of pore water sulfate were remarkably shifted away from the established value for marine SO4−2 (+9.5‰), despite near normal SO4−2/Cl− ratios. Chemical evolution was least in reef tract pore waters and greatest in Florida Bay. Relative to overlying seawater, mudbank sediments exhibited sulfate depletion, with δ18OSO4 and δ34SSO4 values both increasing by about 7‰. More bioturbated island flank sediments, colonized by Thalassia grass, had a 5‰ increase in δ18OSO4, variable δ34SSO4 values (+17.7 to +23.3‰) and exceptionally high Ca+2/Cl− ratios. The large excess of Ca+2 (up to 1.7 mM) requires a much larger acid source than the amounts derived from utilization of dissolved O2 (∼0.3 mM) and small degrees of net SO4−2 reduction (<0.5 mM reduced). A conceptual model was constructed using chemical and isotopic data on natural pore waters and on sulfate isotope fractionation factors obtained from sediment incubation experiments. The model outputs show that pore water compositions can be explained by a redox cycle where microbial SO4−2 reduction is followed by very efficient H2S oxidation, thus maintaining virtually invariant SO4−2/Cl− ratios. The enhanced O2 transport may be driven by associated marine grass rhizome systems and microbial communities established in bioturbated sediments. The net result of the cycle is that the rate of sulfide oxidation, which is largely balanced by the rate of microbial sulfate reduction, is stoichiometrically related to the rate of carbonate dissolution. This is consistent with previously reported rates of carbonate dissolution (∼400 μmol/cm2-yr) and average rates of sulfate reduction (∼200 μmol/cm2-yr) from the Florida Platform and a 2:1 stoichiometry.
A green phototrophic bacterium was enriched with ferrous iron as sole electron donor and was isolated in defined coculture with a spirilloid chemoheterotrophic bacterium. The coculture oxidized ferrous iron to ferric iron with stoichiometric formation of cell mass from carbon dioxide. Sulfide, thiosulfate, or elemental sulfur was not used as electron donor in the light. Hydrogen or acetate in the presence of ferrous iron increased the cell yield of the phototrophic partner, and hydrogen could also be used as sole electron source. Complexed ferric iron was slowly reduced to ferrous iron in the dark, with hydrogen as electron source. Similar to Chlorobium limicola, the phototrophic bacterium contained bacteriochlorophyll c and chlorobactene as photosynthetic pigments, and also resembled representatives of this species morphologically. On the basis of 16S rRNA sequence comparisons, this organism clusters with Chlorobium, Prosthecochloris, and Pelodictyon species within the green sulfur bacteria phylum. Since the phototrophic partner in the coculture KoFox is only moderately related to the other members of the cluster, it is proposed as a new species, Chlorobium ferrooxidans. The chemoheterotrophic partner bacterium, strain KoFum, was isolated in pure culture with fumarate as sole substrate. The strain was identified as a member of the ɛ-subclass of the Proteobacteria closely related to “Geospirillum arsenophilum” on the basis of physiological properties and 16S rRNA sequence comparison. The “Geospirillum” strain was present in the coculture only in low numbers. It fermented fumarate, aspartate, malate, or pyruvate to acetate, succinate, and carbon dioxide, and could reduce nitrate to dinitrogen gas. It was not involved in ferrous iron oxidation but possibly provided a thus far unidentified growth factor to the phototrophic partner.
A novel experiment was carried out for the removal of organic sulphur from high sulphur Indian coal using the electron transfer process. The process involves initial formation of naphthalene radical anion by the interaction of naphthalene, dissolved in ethanol, with a metal ion (Cu , Co , Ni , Sn or Sb ) of variable valence state which subsequently transfers electron to organic sulphur compound. A mechanism is proposed in which cleavage of C-S bonds occur by the metal naphthalenide forming soluble metal-organic sulphur compounds. Maximum amount of leached out sulphur is found to be 9.4% of the total organic sulphur with Sb ion (without naphthalene) revealing that a particular type of organic sulphur was removed by this process. Aliphatic sulphur compound is believed to have leached out from coal and was found to be effective with metal ions having highly negative oxidation potentials. In case of metal ions with low negative oxidation potentials, e.g Cu and Sn , although organic sulphur is removed, however, these ions rapidly form insoluble metal sulphides. This work provides a novel breakthrough of desulphurization of organic sulphur from coal.
Analysis of Hg(II) complexed by a soil humic acid (HA) using synchrotron-based X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) revealed the importance of reduced sulfur functional groups (thiol (R−SH) and disulfide (R−SS−R)/disulfane (R−SSH)) in humic substances in the complexation of Hg(II). A two-coordinate binding environment with one oxygen atom and one sulfur atom at distances of 2.02 and 2.38 Å, respectively, was found in the first coordination shell of Hg(II) complexed by humic acid. Model calculations show that a second coordination sphere could contain one carbon atom and a second sulfur atom at 2.78 and 2.93 Å, respectively. This suggests that in addition to thiol S, disulfide/disulfane S may be involved with the complexation of Hg(II) in soil organic matter. The appearance of carbon atom in the second coordination shell suggests that one O-containing ligand such as carboxyl and phenol ligands rather than H2O molecule is bound to the Hg(II). The involvement of oxygen ligand in addition to the reduced S ligands in the complexation of Hg(II) is due to the low density of reduced S ligands in humic substances. The XAS results from this experiment provided direct molecular level evidence for the preference of reduced S functional groups over oxygen ligands by Hg(II) in the complexation with humic substances.
The time-dependent climate response to changing concentrations of greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols is studied using a coupled general circulation model of the atmosphere and the ocean (ECHAM4/OPYC3). The concentrations of the well-mixed greenhouse gases like CO₂, CH₄, N₂O, and CFCs are prescribed for the past (1860–1990) and projected into the future according to International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scenario IS92a. In addition, the space–time distribution of tropospheric ozone is prescribed, and the tropospheric sulfur cycle is calculated within the coupled model using sulfur emissions of the past and projected into the future (IS92a). The radiative impact of the aerosols is considered via both the direct and the indirect (i.e., through cloud albedo) effect. It is shown that the simulated trend in sulfate deposition since the end of the last century is broadly consistent with ice core measurements, and the calculated radiative forcings from preindustrial to present time are within the uncertainty range estimated by IPCC. Three climate perturbation experiments are performed, applying different forcing mechanisms, and the results are compared with those obtained from a 300-yr unforced control experiment. As in previous experiments, the climate response is similar, but weaker, if aerosol effects are included in addition to greenhouse gases. One notable difference to previous experiments is that the strength of the Indian summer monsoon is not fundamentally affected by the inclusion of aerosol effects. Although the monsoon is damped compared to a greenhouse gas only experiment, it is still more vigorous than in the control experiment. This different behavior, compared to previous studies, is the result of the different land–sea distribution of aerosol forcing. Somewhat unexpected, the intensity of the global hydrological cycle becomes weaker in a warmer climate if both direct and indirect aerosol effects are included in addition to the greenhouse gases. This can be related to anomalous net radiative cooling of the earth’s surface through aerosols, which is balanced by reduced turbulent transfer of both sensible and latent heat from the surface to the atmosphere.