Quantification of the reduced sulfur inventory in an unconsolidated tertiary aquifer

Peter Ruder1, Ruiwen Yan1, Martin Back2, Jörg Göttlicher3, Stefan Peiffer4
1 Lehrstuhl Hydrologie, Uni Bayreuth
2 RWE Power
4 Hydrologie, Uni Bayreuth

P 12.10 in Groundwater quality


Denitrification coupled to pyrite oxidation has been observed in many groundwater aquifers, although a direct reaction between nitrate and pyrite could not be detected (Joergensen et al, 2009, Schippers & Joergensen, 2001). Our understanding of the mechanisms of this redox process is, however, still limited. Recent work has demonstrated that not crystalline pyrite but elemental sulfur is being used by thiobacillus denitrificans for denitrification (Yan, 2014, doctoral Thesis, University of Bayreuth, in prep.), which conflicts with earlier findings by Bosch et al (2012). Hence, the question arises as to whether elemental sulfur (or another non-crystalline fraction of pyrite sulphur) occurs in aquifers.


To these ends we have sampled sedimentary material  obtained from a boring at the forefield of the brown-coal surface mine Hambach near Cologne/Bergheim (Indener Schichten, Erftscholle, 12 samples from 249-260 m below ground and 3 samples from 291-293 m below ground)   .    


Sediments were chemically analyzed for TRIS (Total reduced inorganic sulphur) and  elemental sulphur (S°) as being extractable with Cyclohexane. [UB1]  In addition, two samples were analyzed with sulphur XANES at the ANKA synchrothron.

This poster will display the results from this study.

 [UB1]War es methanol oder Petrolether?  Es ist Cyclohexan.



Bosch, J., Lee, K.Y., Jordan, G., Kim, K.-W. & Meckenstock, R. (2012) Anaerobic, nitrate-dependent oxidation of pyrite nanoparticles by thiobacillus denitrificans. Environmental Science & Technology 46, 2095-2101


Joergensen C. J., Jacobsen O. S.; Elberling B.; Aamand J. (2009) Environmental Science & Technology 43(13): 4851-4857.


Schippers A. & Joergensen B. B. (2001) Geochimica Et Cosmochimica Acta 65(6): 915-922.


Yan, R. (2014), Oxidation of reduced sulphur by denitrifying bacteria, PhD thesis, Univesity of Bayreuth, in preparation.




last modified 2014-01-15