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Testing Procedure (Method of analysis) for Sulphur in Organic Compounds, Tartrates and Thiosulphates

Learn how to determine the Sulphur in various compounds.

Sulfur in Organic Compounds

A. Bum about 20 mg of the substance under examination by the oxygen-flask method, using 15 ml of water and 2 ml of hydrogen peroxide solution (10 vol) as the absorbing liquid. When combustion is complete, boil the solution gently for 10 minutes, adding water if necessary, and cool. The resulting solution gives the reactions of sulfates.
B. To about 50 mg of the substance under examination add 0.25 g of zinc metal and sodium carbonate reagent, mix and transfer to a small, thin-walled test-tube of hard glass and cover with a layer of the reagent. Carefully heat the tube to red heat, starting at the upper end and heating towards the bottom, and then drop the tube immediately into about 20 ml of water. Filter and acidify the filtrate with hydrochloric acid; fumes which stain lead acetate paper brown or black are evolved.


A. Warm the substance under examination with sulfuric acid; charring occurs and carbon monoxide, which bums with a blue flame when ignited, is evolved.
B. Dissolve about 20 mg of the substance under examination in 5 ml of water or use 5 ml of the prescribed solution. Add 0.05 ml of a 1 per cent w/v solution of ferrous sulfate and 0.05 ml of hydrogen peroxide solution (10 vol); a transient yellow color is produced. After the color has disappeared add 2 M sodium hydroxide drop wise; an intense blue color is produced.
C. Heat 0.1 ml of solution containing about 2 mg of tartaric acid or 0.1 ml of prescribed solution on a water-bath for 5 to 10 minutes with 0.1 ml of a 10 percent w/v solution of potassium bromide, 0.1 ml of 2 per cent w/v solution of resorcinol and 3 ml of sulfuric acid; a dark blue color that changes to red when the solution is cooled and poured into water is produced.


A. Dissolve 0.1 g of the substance under examination in 5 ml of water and add 2 ml of hydrochloric acid; a white precipitate is formed which soon turns yellow and sulfur dioxide, recognisable by its odor, is evolved.
B. Dissolve 0.1 g of the substance under examination in 5 ml of water and add 2 ml of ferric chloride test solution; a dark violet color which quickly disappears is produced.
C. Solutions of thiosulphates decolorise iodine solution; the decolorised solutions do not give the reactions of sulfates.
D. Solutions of thiosulphates decolorise bromine solution; the decolorised solutions give the reactions of sulfates.

Ankur Choudhary is India's first professional pharmaceutical blogger, author and founder of Pharmaceutical Guidelines, a widely-read pharmaceutical blog since 2008. Sign-up for the free email updates for your daily dose of pharmaceutical tips.
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