Selenium and Tellurium

Selenium and Tellurium

currently no one is working on selenium and tellurium

Selenium is an essential trace element related to sulphur. It has a similar chemistry as sulphur and forms a range of organo-selenium compounds. It also is an important element in modern day electronics as it can be a semi-conductor.

It is essential for humans in form of selenocysteine, which forms the catalytic centre in a number of enzymes. Some of those are thought to have anti-cancerous properties. The distribution of selenium in the earth’s crust is highly variable and in Europe it is generally very low.

There are a number of research projects going on in the field of selenium.

One is on selenium speciation in biological tissues especially speciation of small organo-selenium compounds used to fortify fish to increase human uptake of selenium and their metabolism.

Selenium metabolism in whales:  studying the presence of seleno-proteins and trying to identify them and the presence of selenium containing natural nano-particles containing also mercury {mercury}. This project involves significant method development, since selenium-containing amino acids are significantly less stable than their sulphur counterparts and standard proteomics methods are difficult to apply.

Selenium is not only essential for animals but it is important technologically important.

A project focuses on the biogeochemistry of selenium and tellurium using bioimaging and speciation analysis. The TeaSe project (Tellurium and Selenium cycling and supply) is funded by NERC and involves interdisciplinary teams from several Universities in the UK.

In collaboration with the geology department, rocks samples are mapped by using laser ablation ICP-MS in order to determine enrichment of Se and Te in these rocks.

Speciation analysis is performed in partnership with the University of Dundee by using HPLC-ICP-MS for biological samples. Also, methods for Se and Te nanoparticles determination are developed by using Single Particle ICP-MS (7900, Agilent technology).

Some of our publications in this field: