Most agricultural soils are generally considered to be a sink for sulfur gases rather than a source; however, recent studies have shown significant emissions of sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide from acid sulfate soils. In the current study, acid sulfate soil samples were taken in northern New South Wales from under sugarcane cropping, as well as from an undisturbed nature reserve. Using gas chromatography/flame photometric detection in conjunction with headspace solid-phase microextraction, we have now determined that these soils are a potential source of the low molecular weight volatile sulfur compounds, dimethylsulfide and ethanethiol. Although the mechanism for their production remains unclear, both compounds are important in the transfer and interconversions of atmospheric and terrestrial sulfur. Therefore, these novel findings have important implications for refining local and regional atmospheric sulfur budgets, as well as for expanding our understanding of sulfur cycling within acid sulfate soils and other sediments.
Kinsela, A. S., Reynolds, J. K., & Melville, M. D. (2007). Agricultural acid sulfate soils: a potential source of volatile sulfur compounds? Environmental Chemistry, 4(1), 18-25. https://doi.org/10.1071/EN06071