Hydrogen sulfide production from cysteine and homocysteine by periodontal and oral bacteria

Akihiro Yoshida, Mamiko Yoshimura, Naoya Ohara, Shigeru Yoshimura, Shiori Nagashima, Tadamichi Takehara, Koji Nakayama

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hydrogen sulfide is one of the predominant volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) produced by oral bacteria. This study developed and evaluated a system for detecting hydrogen sulfide production by oral bacteria. Methods: L-methionine-α-deamino-γ-mercaptomethane-lyase (METase) and β carbon-sulfur (βC-S) lyase were used to degrade homocysteine and cysteine, respectively, to produce hydrogen sulfide. Enzymatic reactions resulting in hydrogen sulfide production were assayed by reaction with bismuth trichloride, which forms a black precipitate when mixed with hydrogen sulfide. The enzymatic activities of various oral bacteria that resultin hydrogen sulfide production and the capacity of bacteria from periodontal sites to form hydrogen sulfide in reaction mixtures containing L-cysteine or DL-homocysteine were assayed. Results: With L-cysteine as the substrate, Streptococcus anginosus FW73 producedthe mosthydrogen sulfide, whereas Porphyromonas gingivalis American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) 33277 and W83 and Fusobacterium nucleatum ATCC 10953 produced ̃ 35% of the amount produced by the P. gingivalis strains. Finally, the hydrogen sulfide found in sub-gingival plaque was analyzed. Using bismuth trichloride, the hydrogen sulfide producedby oral bacteria was visually detectable as a black precipitate. Conclusions: Hydrogen sulfide production by oral bacteria was easily analyzed using bismuth trichloride. However, further innovation is required for practical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1845-1851
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of periodontology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • BC-S lyase
  • Bacteria
  • Diagnosis
  • Hydrogen sulfide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


Dive into the research topics of 'Hydrogen sulfide production from cysteine and homocysteine by periodontal and oral bacteria'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this