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In nature, sulphur (S) occurs as inorganic and organic forms, ranging from reduced states such as hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas through elemental sulphur (S0), to complex organic compounds and enzymes that contain S in various valency states. Elemental S is widely used in industry, mainly for sulphuric acid (H2SO4) production, with a significant proportion of the acid used in various phases of fertilizer production. In 2008, total S consumption was 74.1 million metric tonnes (Mt) of which 34.5 Mt were used to produce fertilizers (IFA, 2009).
The S-containing amino acids, methionine and cystine (Figure 1), are essential for production of proteins; without them and other S-containing materials, there would be no life as we know it. Higher animals cannot produce the essential amino acids and depend on predation, plants and/or the microflora and microfauna for their supply. Ruminants overcome this problem by having a symbiotic relationship with microorganisms in their gut....
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