Phototrophic Bacteria Produce Volatile, Methylated Sulfur and Selenium Compounds

Steven McCarty(1), Thomas G. Chasteen(1), Michele Marshall(2), Ray Fall(2), and Reinhard Bachofen(3)

(1) Department of Chemistry, Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, Texas USA,

(2) Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences and Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, USA, and

(3) Institute for Plant Biology and Microbiology, University of Zürich, Zollikerstrasse 107, CH-8008 Zürich, Switzerland,

FEMS Microbiology Letters, 1993, Vol. 112, pages 93-98.


Species of phototrophic non-sulfur bacteria produce methylated sulfur compounds, such as dimethylsulfide and dimethyldisulfide. In the presence of selenium oxyanions, analogous organic selenium compounds are formed. These findings suggest that this group of bacteria contribute to the volatilization and biogeochemical cycling of sulfur and selenium.