The ability of the hyperthermophilic archaeon Sulfolobus solfataricas P2 to grow on organic and inorganic sulfur sources was investigated. A sulfur-free mineral medium was employed with different sources of carbon. The results showed that inorganic sulfur sources display growth curve patterns significantly different from the curves obtained with organic sulfur sources. Solfataricas has the ability to utilize DBT and its derivatives, but it lacks BT utilization. Solfataricas utilizes DBT at a rate of 1.23 mu mol 2-HBP h(-1) g DCW-1 even at 78 degrees C, at which DBT is known to be unstable. After enabling DBT stabilization using a two-phase culture system, stable microbial growth was achieved showing a desulfurization rate of 0.34 mu M DBT g DCW-1 h(-1). Solfataricas offers beneficial properties compared to the other desulfurizing mesophilic/moderate thermophilic bacteria due to its capacity to utilize DBT and its derivatives under hyperthermophilic conditions.