Sulfur

Sulphur; formula: S; CAS Registry Number: 7704-34-9

Ubiquitous element which naturally occurs in its elementary form as well as in sulfide- and sulfate minerals

Commercially it plays an important role in chemical and pharmaceutical industry, e.g. in the production of fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, pigments, detergents and ointments. Furthermore, it is used in pyrotechnics, steel- und electrical industries and building industry.

Sulfur is part of the amino acids methionine and cysteine/cystine and thus essential for all living organisms.

It acts as antagonist of some trace elements and excess can result in copper-, cobalt-, or selenium deficiencies. On the other hand, it counteracts toxicity of these three metals.

The toxicity of elementary sulfur to organisms is low. This is, however, not true for the sulfur compounds sulfur dioxide (SO2) and hydrogen sulfide (H2S).

  • Sulfur dioxide is toxic to plants. High SO2-levels in the atmosphere may lead to acid rain which affects aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems by lowering of the ambient pH-values. Effects on reproduction and teratogenicity have been demonstrated in animal experiments.
  • Hydrogen sulfide is highly toxic to animals and humans. Furthermore, there is some evidence for teratogenicity.

Specimen

  • Common brown alga of the coastal areas of the North and Baltic Sea
  • A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
  • A major primary producer in semi-natural and anthropogenic affected ecosystems.
  • A deciduous tree typical of ecosystems close to dense conurbations and an indicator for the characterisation of the immission situation during the vegetation period.
  • As the most dominant deciduous tree species in Central Europe, it plays a significant role in most nearly natural and also anthropogenically influenced forest ecosystems up to an altitude of 1100 m.
  • As an organism living at ground level, it is a major driver of the decomposition of organic material (e.g. plant litter).
  • As an organism living at ground level, it is a major driver of the decomposition of organic material (e.g. plant litter).

Sampling area

Sampling period

1985 - 2019