Kinetics and mechanism of abiotic decomposition of malodorous dimethyl disulfide under dark, oxic conditions

Tamir Buchshtav, Alon Amrani, Alexey Kamyshny*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The presence of malodorous dimethyl polysulfides (DMPSs) has been documented in limnic systems as well as in tap water distribution systems. These compounds compromise the quality of drinking water. In this work, we studied kinetics and mechanisms of the decomposition reactions of the most abundant and stable DMPS, dimethyl disulfide (DMDS), in aqueous solutions in the presence of oxygen and absence of light. It was found that DMDS reacts with a hydroxyl ion and its decomposition leads to the formation of methyl mercaptan and other products. The decomposition reaction is of the first order with respect to both the concentration of DMDS and the activity of the hydroxyl ion, with an activation energy of 90 ± 8 kJ mol -1 . The half-life of DMDS under abiotic, dark, oxic conditions was observed to vary from thousands to hundreds of thousands of years depending on the pH and temperature. These results indicate that DMDS is decomposed by other chemical, photochemical and microbially-mediated pathways.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)165-170
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Sarit Melamed and Efrat Eliani Russak for assistance with analyses. We are grateful to Ovadia Lev and Andrey Gavriushin for the discussions which helped to improve our manuscript. This work was supported by the Marie Curie Actions CIG PCIG10-GA-2011–303740 (ThioCyAnOx) Grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 CSIRO.


  • decomposition kinetics
  • dimethyl polysulfides
  • reduced sulfur compounds
  • volatile organic sulfur compounds


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