Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The evolution of hydrogen sulfide by microorganisms has been studied for many years. Until recently, most of the research was in the taxonomical and clinical areas. Much work was done to perfect a cultural medium capable of demonstrating hydrogen sulfide production, using this characteristic to distinguish between groups of organisms. Triple sugar iron agar, Kliglers, lead acetate agar, urea agar base concentrate, and peptone iron medium used today. The extensive investigation was to find medium to show a color change in response to hydrogen sulfide production without toxicity to the growing cells. Hydrogen sulfide producing bacterial have been isolated from many place such as soil, water, foods, and the gastrointestinal tracts of animals. In the soil and aquatic environment a variety of species of bacteria can be found which contribute to all of the aspects of the sulfur cycle. Hydrogen sulfide gas is produced under anaerobic conditions in sanitary stabilization ponds. The gas is objectionable because of its toxicity, corrosiveness to equipment and paint, and offensive odor. The major source of the sulfur is from cysteine and cystine of the protein fractions. When the protein molecules are broken down, the sulfur becomes more available to microorganisms to be used in their cellular metabolism. Because of the complex interactions between different microorganisms, the investigation of the breakdown of organic waste presents problems. This study investigated a small portion of the physiological requirements of microbial decomposition of organic wastes. The emphasis was on the formation of hydrogen sulfide during decomposition of specific sulfur substrates. The effects of carbohydrate and inhibitors on hydrogen sulfide formation by Escherichia freundii were investigated. E. freundii was chosen because it produces abundant amounts of hydrogen sulfide and is found in soil, water, and fecal matter.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Hydrogen sulphide




South Dakota State University