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Sulfur heterocyclic compounds are formed when a carbon atom in a carbocyclic ring is replaced by sulfur. They may be alicyclic or aromatic in nature. The heterocyclic ring may contain one or more sulfur atoms which influence the physio-chemical and biological properties of the compounds. Fragmentation of sulfur containing heterocycles almost always proceeds with the loss of sulfur atoms or sulfur containing fragments.

The presence of sulfur heteroatoms results in significant changes in the cyclic molecular structure due to the availability of unshared pairs of electrons and the difference in electronegativity between heteroatoms and carbon. As a result these heterocycles are considered as promising materials in different areas of pharmaceutical and agrochemical research, and also more recently as compounds with interesting physical properties for magnetism and conductivity. Sulfur heterocycles are common constituents of petroleum and liquids derived from coal, and they are found in some secondary metabolites of microorganisms and plants. For example, the microbially produced penicillins and cephalosporins have sulfur containing rings.


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