Space Science Reviews

, Volume 135, Issue 1, pp 203–220

Multiple-Sulphur Isotope Biosignatures


DOI: 10.1007/s11214-007-9267-2

Cite this article as:
Ono, S. Space Sci Rev (2008) 135: 203. doi:10.1007/s11214-007-9267-2


Variations in sulphur isotope ratios have been used as biosignatures in early rock records and Martian meteorites because some microbial sulphur metabolisms are known to produce large magnitude mass-dependent sulphur isotope fractionation. In order to establish the sulphur isotope biosignature, however, it becomes critically important to evaluate abiogenic processes that fractionate sulphur isotope ratios. A brief review is given here for the fundamental systematics and characteristics of multiple-sulfur isotope effects associated with (1) biological, (2) hydrothermal, and (3) photochemical processes. High-precision analysis of all four isotope abundance of sulphur may provide a unique constraint to establish biosignatures in space exploration.


S-33S-36Multiple-sulphur isotopeSulfur isotopeSulphur isotopeMass-independent fractionationArcheanBiosignatureMeteoriteSulfate reductionHydrothermalPhotochemical

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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary SciencesMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA