Chemistry 101

J.E. Shields
Tue, 08 Nov 2005 11:13:32 PST
Hi Brook and all,

Sulfa drugs are organic molecules and certainly antibiotics, but sulfate is 
simply an inorganic form of sulfur.  They have nothing in common other than 
the sulfur atom.  Every living thing contains sulfur atoms in its 
proteins.  Some forms of sulfate and especially elemental sulfur ("flowers 
of sulfur") can lower the pH of the soil.  Otherwise, I've no idea what 
they are talking about.  It sounds more like superstition than science, to 
this scientist anyway.  I would take it with a grain of sodium chloride.

Chemistry 101 note:  pH is the hydrogen ion potential, or acidity.  pH 7 is 
considered neutral (neither acid nor alkaline) and is the pH of ultrapure 
water.  pH values below 7 are considered acid, while pH values above 7 are 
considered alkaline.  pH is a negative logarithmic scale, so a change of 
one pH unit indicated a change in acid concentration of 10 times.  pH 8 has 
1/10th the hydrogen ion concentration of pH 7, while pH 6 has 10 times the 
hydrogen ion concentration of pH 7.

I hope this helps a bit.

Jim Shields
in central Indiana (USA)

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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