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Quadruple sulfur isotope constraints on the origin and cycling of volatile organic sulfur compounds in a stratified sulfidic lake

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle



Harry Daniel Oduro, A. Kamyshny, Aubrey Lea Zerkle, Y. Li, J. Farquhar

School/Research organisations


We have quantified the major forms of volatile organic sulfur compounds (VOSCs) distributed in the water column of stratified freshwater Fayetteville Green Lake (FGL), to evaluate the biogeochemical pathways involved in their production. The lake’s anoxic deep waters contain high concentrations of sulfate (12 to 16 mmol L-1) and sulfide (0.12 μmol L-1 to 1.5 mmol L-1) with relatively low VOSC concentrations, ranging from 0.1 nmol L-1 to 2.8 μmol L-1. Sulfur isotope measurements of combined volatile organic sulfur compounds demonstrate that VOSC species are formed primarily from reduced sulfur (H2S/HS-) and zero-valent sulfur (ZVS), with little input from sulfate. The data support a role of a combination of biological and abiotic processes in formation of carbon-sulfur bonds between reactive sulfur species and methyl groups of lignin components. These processes are responsible for very fast turnover of VOSC species, maintaining their low levels in FGL. No dimethylsufoniopropionate (DMSP) was detected by Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry (ESI-MS) in the lake water column or in planktonic extracts. These observations indicate a pathway distinct from oceanic and coastal marine environments, where dimethylsulfide (DMS) and other VOSC species are principally produced via the breakdown of DMSP by plankton species.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-262
JournalGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta
Early online date10 Jul 2013
StatePublished - 2013

    Research areas

  • volatile organic sulfer compounds, methylation, sulfidation, nucleophile, methoxylated aromatic compounds, monimolimnion, mixolimnion, chemocline, zero-valent sulfer, polysulfide

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