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Iron(II) sulfide
Sample of iron(II) sulfide
Ball-and-stick model of FeS's unit cell
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verifgactionExcept where noted otherwise, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C, 100 kPa)
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Iron(II) sulfide or ferrous sulfide is a chemical compound with the formula FeS. In practice, iron sulfides are often non-stoichiometric. Powdered iron sulfide is pyrophoric (i.e. will ignite spontaneously in air).

Forms of iron sulfideEdit

"Iron sulfide" exists in several distinct forms, which differ in the ration of sulfur to iron and properties:[1]

  • Pyrrhotite, Fe1-xS, a mineral, which displays ferrimagnetism and crystallizes in monoclinic system. Iron metal shows ferromagnetism; iron sulfides do not.
  • Troilite, FeS, a stoichiometric compounds that adopts hexagonal symmetry.
  • Mackinawite, Fe1+xS the least stable form of iron sulfide, mackinawite has a layered structure.
  • Pyrite and marcasite, which are diamagnetic minerals, have the formula FeS2.
  • Greigite (Fe3S4) a ferromagnetic species akin to magnetite.

Chemical reactionsEdit

Iron sulfide reacts with hydrochloric acid, releasing the pungent hydrogen sulfide

FeS + 2 HCl → FeCl2 + H2S

FeS can be obtained by the reaction of iron and sulfur:

Fe + S → FeS

Biology and biochemistryEdit

The presence of ferrous sulfide as a visible black precipitate in the growth medium peptone iron agar can be used to distinguish between microorganisms that produce the cysteine metabolizing enzyme cysteine desulfhydrase and those that do not. Peptone iron agar contains the amino acid cysteine and a chemical indicator, ferric citrate. The degradation of cysteine releases hydrogen sulfide gas that reacts with the ferric citrate to produce ferrous sulfide.

Pyrrotite is a waste product of the Desulfovibrio bacteria.

See alsoEdit


  1. D. Vaughan, J. Craig, (1978) Mineral Chemistry of Metal Sulfides, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-21489-0

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