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After the application of methionine, a progressive and significant increase occurred in five volatile organic sulfur compounds (VOSCs): methanethiol (MeSH), dimethyl sulfide (DMS), dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), dimethyl trisulfide (DMTS) and dimethyl tetrasulfide (DMTeS). Even in the untreated control without a methionine addition, methionine and its catabolites (VOSCs, mainly DMDS) were found in considerable amounts that were high enough to account for the water's offensive odor. However, blackening only occurred in two methionine-amended treatments. The VOSCs production was observed to precede black color development, and the reaching of a peak value for total VOSCs was often followed by water blackening. The presence of glucose stimulated the degradation of methionine while postponing the occurrence of the black color and inhibiting the production of VOSCs. In addition, DMDS was found to be the most abundant species produced after the addition of methionine alone, and DMTeS appeared to be the most important compound produced after the addition of methionine+glucose. These results suggest that methionine acted as an important precursor of the VOSCs in lakes suffering from algea-induced black bloom. The existence of glucose may change the transformation pathway of methionine into VOSCs to form larger molecular weight compounds, such as DMTS and DMTeS.


Xin Lu, Chengxin Fan, Wei He, Jiancai Deng, Hongbin Yin. Sulfur-containing amino acid methionine as the precursor of volatile organic sulfur compounds in algea-induced black bloom. Journal of environmental sciences (China). 2013 Jan 1;25(1):33-43

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PMID: 23586297

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