• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of plntphysLink to Publisher's site
Plant Physiol. Feb 1978; 61(2): 184–189.
PMCID: PMC1091829

Light-dependent Emission of Hydrogen Sulfide from Plants 1


With the aid of a sulfur-specific flame photometric detector, an emission of volatile sulfur was detected from leaves of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), squash and pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo L.), cantaloupe (Cucumis melo L.), corn (Zea mays L.), soybean (Glycine max [L.] Merr.) and cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). The emission was studied in detail in squash and pumpkin. It occurred following treatment of the roots of plants with sulfate and was markedly higher from either detached leaves treated via the cut petiole, or whole plants treated via mechanically injured roots. Bisulfite elicited higher rates of emission than sulfate. The emission was completely light-dependent and increased with light intensity. The rate of emission rose to a maximum and then declined steadily toward zero in the course of a few hours. However, emission resumed after reinjury of roots, an increase in light intensity, an increase in sulfur anion concentration, or a dark period of several hours.

The emission was identified as H2S by the following criteria: it had the odor of H2S; it was not trapped by distilled H2O, but was trapped by acidic CdCl2 resulting in the formation of a yellow precipitate, CdS; it was also trapped by base and the contents of the trap formed methylene blue when reacted with N,N-dimethyl-p-phenylenediamine and Fe3+.

H2S emission is not the cause of leaf injury by SO2, since bisulfite produced SO2 injury symptoms in dim light when H2S emission was low, while sulfate did not produce injury symptoms in bright light when H2S emission was high.

The maximum rates of emission observed, about 8 nmol min−1 g fresh weight−1, are about the activity that would be expected for the sulfur assimilation pathway of a normal leaf. H2S emission may be a means by which the plant can rid itself of excess inorganic sulfur when HS acceptors are not available in sufficient quantity.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.2M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Asada K. Purification and properties of a sulfite reductase from leaf tissue. J Biol Chem. 1967 Aug 25;242(16):3646–3654. [PubMed]
  • Giovanelli J, Mudd SH, Datko AH. Homoserine esterification in green plants. Plant Physiol. 1974 Nov;54(5):725–736. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Maroulis PJ, Bandy AR. Estimate of the contribution of biologically produced dimethyl sulfide to the global sulfur cycle. Science. 1977 May 6;196(4290):647–648. [PubMed]
  • Reuveny Z, Filner P. A new assay for ATP sulfurylase based on differential solubility of the sodium salts of adenosine 5'-phosphosulfate and sulfate. Anal Biochem. 1976 Oct;75(2):410–428. [PubMed]
  • Schmidt A. Sulfate reduction in a cell-free system of Chlorella. The ferredoxin dependent reduction of a protein-bound intermediate by a thiosulfonate reductase. Arch Mikrobiol. 1973 Oct 4;93(1):29–52. [PubMed]
  • Schmidt A, Abrams WR, Schiff JA. Reduction of adenosine 5'-phosphosulfate to cysteine in extracts from Chlorella and mutants blocked for sulfate reduction. Eur J Biochem. 1974 Sep 16;47(3):423–434. [PubMed]
  • SIEGEL LM. A DIRECT MICRODETERMINATION FOR SULFIDE. Anal Biochem. 1965 Apr;11:126–132. [PubMed]
  • Silvius JE, Baer CH, Dodrill S, Patrick H. Photoreduction of sulfur dioxide by spinach leaves and isolated spinach chloroplasts. Plant Physiol. 1976 May;57(5):799–801. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • WILSON LG, ASAHI T, BANDURSKI RS. Yeast sulfate-reducing system. I. Reduction of sulfate to sulfite. J Biol Chem. 1961 Jun;236:1822–1829. [PubMed]
  • Wohlers HC, Newstein H, Daunis D. Carbon monoxide and sulfur dioxide absorption on-- and desorption from glass, plastic and metal tubings. J Air Pollut Control Assoc. 1967 Nov;17(11):753–756. [PubMed]

Articles from Plant Physiology are provided here courtesy of American Society of Plant Biologists


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...