Sulfur-containing proteins are degraded into their constituent amino acids by the action of a variety of soil organisms. In the presence of oxygen, H 2 S is converted to sulfur and then to sulfate by sulfur bacteria. The sulfur of the amino acids is converted to hydrogen sulfide (H 2 S) by another series of soil microbes. As shown in Figure 1, sulfur cycles between the oceans, land, and atmosphere. Atmospheric sulfur is found in the form of sulfur dioxide (SO 2) and enters the atmosphere in three ways: from the decomposition of organic molecules, from volcanic activity and geothermal vents, and from the burning of fossil fuels by humans. 1) Formation of Inorganic Sulfur. 3) Assimilative Reduction of Sulfate to Sulfide (S2−). Sulfur Cycle Steps The sulfur cycle consists of various terrestrial and atmospheric processes consisting of different oxidation and reduction reactions. • Reduction of sulfate to sulfide. The following are the steps involved in the sulfur cycle: 1. The sulfur cycle contains both atmospheric and terrestrial processes. What are the steps of the sulfur cycle? The Sulfur CycleThe Sulfur Cycle The essential steps of the sulfur cycle are: • Mi li ti f i lf t th i i fMineralization of organic sulfur to the inorganic form, hydrogen sulfide, H 2 S. • Oxidation of sulfide and elemental sulfur (S) and related compounds to sulfate, SO 4 2–. Within the terrestrial portion, the cycle begins with the weathering of rocks, releasing the stored sulfur. 4) Incorporation of Sulfide into Organic Compounds. The sulfur then comes into contact with air where it is converted into sulfate (SO4). Figure 1. 2) Oxidation of Inorganic Sulfur to Sulfate (SO42−).
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