Why Is Sulfur Important?

According to the Plant and Soil Sciences eLibrary, sulfur, one of the most important elements in nature, plays a crucial role in the existence of all living organisms. Sulfur is a key component of certain proteins that make life possible. It is also one of the most abundant elements in the universe.

In addition to playing a vital role in the biology of animals and plants, sulfur also has a very important use as a fertilizer. The U.S. Department of Energy Jefferson Lab reports that sulfur is a component of lead-acid batteries and has various other industrial uses as well. Sulfur is an ingredient in gunpowder and certain insecticides. Sulfuric acid, a compound of sulfur, is the main form of sulfur used by industries.

The Encyclopedia Britannica defines pure sulfur as a yellow solid that is not soluble in water. Sulfur is not typically found in its pure form. It is found in nature in a variety of minerals such as barite and gypsum. These minerals are no longer an important source of sulfur for commercial purposes. Modern primary sources of sulfur for industry include petroleum and natural gas. Sulfur is a by-product of the processing of these two energy sources.