Transformations of organic and inorganic sulfur: Importance to sulfate flux in an adirondack forest soil

Mark B. David, Myron J. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review


Sulfate flux from forest soils as a result of inputs from acidic deposition is thought to be a critical process in regulating acidification of surface waters. The purpose of this study was to evaluate biotic transformations of sulfur in an Adirondack Mountain forest soil by adding 35S-sulfate to the forest floor. In September 1983 to each of two 0.5 m2 plots, 2.22 X 10110 dpm of 35S-sulfate was added in 4 liters of solution. Analysis of soil horizons from the plot at the end of the six week incubation indicated that 70 and 99 percent of the added 35S was retained in the soil at plots 1 and 2, respectively. More than 70 percent of the 35S was found in Oa, Bh, and Bs1 horizons. In 0 horizons greater than 80 percent of the 3SS was found as organic sulfur, whereas in mineral horizons most was found as adsorbed Sulfate. These findings indicated that a portion of the sulfate moving through the soil is both rapidly immobilized in the forest floor and adsorbed in the mineral horizons. On a net basis, however, the soil is not accumulating sulfur so that mineralization and desorption must equal immobilization and adsorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-44
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Air Pollution Control Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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