Atmospheric pressure-temperature programmed reduction coupled with on-line mass spectrometry (AP-TPR/MS) is used for the first time on microbiologically treated coal samples as a technique to monitor the degree of desulfurization of the various sulfur functionalities. The experimental procedure enables the identification of both organic and inorganic sulfur species present in the coal matrix. A better insight in the degradation of the coal matrix and the accompanying processes during the AP-TPR experiment is obtained by a quantitative differentiation of the sulfur. The determination of the sulfur balance for the reductive pyrolysis gives an overview of the side reactions and their relative contribution in the total process. The volatile sulfur species are unambiguously identified using AP-TPR off-line coupled with gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/MS). In this way, fundamental mechanisms and reactions that occur during the reductive pyrolysis could be quantified, explaining the differences in AP-TPR recoveries. Therefore, this study gives a clearer view on the possibilities and limitations of AP-TPR as a technique to monitor sulfur functionalities in coal.