16S Sulfur

Year Discovered


Discovered By


Biological Rating

Necessary for all life.


The origins of the name come from the Sanskrit language. Sulfur is a non-metallic bright yellow solid. It has been known since antiquity, being the brimstone found in the Bible. Sulfur occurs in many different forms or allotropes, and they are always mixed with each other, which makes the chemistry of sulfur quite complicated. Sulfur can appear in many different colors, such as orange, brown or red. Sulfur is stable in air and water and is often found in its pure elemental form. Sulfur is a very important industrial element, used in many different processes. Its primary use is in the production of sulfuric acid, which is the most heavily used chemical in the world, and mostly is used to make superphosphate fertilizers. The U.S. alone produces 200 pounds of sulfuric acid for every man, woman and child in the country every year. Sulfur is also important in the production of vulcanized rubber, gunpowder, in petroleum refining, and in the synthesis of many sulfur-bearing organic molecules. Pure sulfur is an excellent electric insulator, but not often is used as such.

Biological Benefits

Sulfur is an essential element to all life. It is a primary constituent of two important amino acids, methionine and cysteine. It is also a minor constituent of fats, body fluids and bones.

Role in Life Processes

Essential for life processes in plants animals.

Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.2%


Sulfur is mined from pure sulfur deposits found in oil-producing regions in Louisiana, Texas, Canada and Mexico. It is also found in pure form near volcanoes and hot springs. Other sources of sulfur are the mineral pyrite and hydrogen sulfide gas distilled from natural gas wells especially in the Middle East and Canada. Sulfur is a common constituent of crude oil, from which it also is obtained. There are many sulfur-bearing minerals. Among the most common are anhydrite (calcium sulfate), barite (barium sulfate), chalcocite (copper sulfide), chalcopyrite, cinnabar (mercury sulfide), galena (lead sulfide), kieserite (magnesium sulfate), gypsum, sphalerite (zinc sulfide), and stibnite (antimony sulfide).