Sulfur Cycle

Sulfur, like nitrogen, is characteristic of organic compounds. The sulfur cycle is both sedimentary and gaseous (see Figure 8.19). The principal forms of sulfur that are of special significance in water quality management are organic sulfur, hydrogen sulfide, elemental sulfur, and sulfate (Tchobanoglous and Schroeder, 1985). Bacteria play a major role in the conversion of sulfur from one form to another. In an anaerobic environment, bacteria break down organic matter, thereby producing hydrogen sulfide with its characteristic rotten-egg odor. The bacterium Beggiatoa converts hydrogen sulfide into elemental sulfur into sulfates. Other sulfates are contributed by the dissolving of rocks and some sulfur dioxide. Sulfur is incorporated by plants into proteins. Organisms then consume some of these plants. Many heterotrophic anaerobic bacteria liberate sulfur from proteins as hydrogen sulfide.

Bioaccumulation Chojnacka

Loss to deep sediments

Figure 8.20 Phosphorus cycle.

Loss to deep sediments

Figure 8.20 Phosphorus cycle.

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