Effect of dimethyl disulfide on the sulfur formation and microbial community composition during the biological H2S removal from sour gas streams

Karine Kiragosyan*, Magali Picard, Dimitry Y. Sorokin, Jelmer Dijkstra, Johannes B.M. Klok, Pawel Roman, Albert J.H. Janssen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Removal of organic and inorganic sulfur compounds from sour gases is required because of their toxicity and atmospheric pollution. The most common are hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and methanethiol (MT). Under oxygen-limiting conditions about 92 mol% of sulfide is oxidized to sulfur by haloalkaliphilic sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (SOB), whilst the remainder is oxidized either biologically to sulfate or chemically to thiosulfate. MT is spontaneously oxidized to dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), which was found to inhibit the oxidation of sulfide to sulfate. Hence, we assessed the effect of DMDS on product formation in a lab-scale biodesulfurization setup. DMDS was quantified using a newly, in-house developed analytical method. Subsequently, a chemical reaction mechanism was proposed for the formation of methanethiol and dimethyl trisulfide from the reaction between sulfide and DMDS. Addition of DMDS resulted in significant inhibition of sulfate formation, leading to 96 mol% of sulfur formation. In addition, a reduction in the dominating haloalkaliphilic SOB species, Thioalkalivibrio sulfidiphilus, was observed in favor of Thioalkaibacter halophilus as a more DMDS-tolerant with the 50 % inhibition coefficient at 2.37 mM DMDS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121916
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Hazardous Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Biodesulfurization
  • Biosulfur
  • Dimethyl disulfide
  • Selective inhibition
  • Sulfur-oxidizing bacteria


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