Hydrogen Sulfide

Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is generated in the process of anaerobic treatment of organic matter containing sulfur and anaerobic reduction of sulfate by sulfate reducing bacteria. Hydrogen sulfide is evolved as a gaseous pollutant from geothermal waters, natural spring, volcanoes, petroleum production, chemical plants, paper mills, textile mills and tannery (Manahan, 2000; Ledgard, 2006). Besides, it also produced in the decomposition of sulfur containing organic matter in manure (National Study Council, 2003).


Hydrogen sulfide which also known as sulfurated hydrogen or hydro sulfuric acid is characterized by sweetish taste, colorless, rotten egg odor, pale blue color flame, toxic  and generally recognized as hazardous gas (Manahan, 1999). The presence of H2S in the environment can evoke some negative effects to living organism such as microorganism, plant, animal and human health system. In the concentration of 15-50 ppm, H2S will generally cause irritation to mucous membranes and also cause headache, dizziness and nausea. In addition, higher concentration of H2S (200-300 ppm) may lead to coma and unconsciousness. Exposure at greater concentration than 700 ppm of H2S more than 30 minutes will provoke fatal effect (Syed et al., 2006). The physical and chemical properties of hydrogen sulfide are discussed in the Table 2.1.

Table 2.1 Physical and chemical properties of hydrogen sulfide (Potivichayanon, 2006)



Chemical name Hydrogen sulfide
Synonyms Hydrosulfuric acid, stink damp, sulfur hydride, sulfurated hydrogen, dihydrogen monosulfide, dihydrogen sulfide, sewer gas
Chemical formula H2S
Chemical structure H-S-H
Molecular weight 34.08
Color Colorless
Physical state Gas
Freezing point -85.49°C
Boiling point -60.33°C
Density at 0°C, 760 mmHg 1.5392 g.l-1
Odor Characteristic of rotten eggs
Henry’s law constant
At 20 °C 468 atm/mole fraction
At 30 °C 600 atm/mole fraction
At 40 °C 729 atm/mole fraction
Conversion factors 1 ppm = 1.40 mg.m-3


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