I say the word ‘arsenic’ and you instantly think ‘poison’. And while it is true that arsenic is used in a variety of insecticides and vermicides, and is quite poisonous to you and me, it does have other useful applications.
Arsenic fits in that special part of the periodic table of ‘metalloids’, and it mainly occurs naturally in minerals. The name is derived from Persian meaning yellow orpiment a type of arsenic sulfide mineral.
Arsenic is used as a wood preservative and as a dopant in semiconductors, as well as in animal feed. It is also used as a pigment, in paints, and in fireworks. In Victorian times it was used as an all-purpose treatment – even Charles Dickens used it. It was also famously found leaching out of Napoleon’s wallpaper.
We are currently unsure if As is an essential element or not, it has been suggested to have a biological role in some bacteria, but there is debate over its role. Nowadays we realise the toxic and possibly carcinogenic nature of arsenic. There is currently large global concern over the As levels found in groundwater used for drinking in some parts of the world, the As coming from erosion of local rocks.
Learn more about arsenic via the RSC Visual Elements Periodic Table, and the Chemistry in its Element podcast. If you work in the area of arsenic biology, we hope that you will consider submitting your next paper to Metallomics.
Take a look at some papers we have published on arsenic in Metallomics. They will be free to read until November 16th.
Arsenic metabolism and thioarsenicals
Kanwal Rehman and Hua Naranmandura
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 881-892
A possible mechanism for combined arsenic and fluoride induced cellular and DNA damage in mice
Swaran J. S. Flora, Megha Mittal, Vidhu Pachauri and Nidhi Dwivedi
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 78-90
Individual variations in arsenic metabolism in Vietnamese: the association with arsenic exposure and GSTP1 genetic polymorphism
Tetsuro Agusa, Takashi Kunito, Nguyen Minh Tue, Vi Thi Mai Lan, Junko Fujihara, Haruo Takeshita, Tu Binh Minh, Pham Thi Kim Trang, Shin Takahashi, Pham Hung Viet, Shinsuke Tanabe and Hisato Iwata
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 91-100
Zinc finger proteins as templates for metal ion exchange and ligand reactivity. Chemical and biological consequences
Susana M. Quintal, Queite Antonia dePaula and Nicholas P. Farrell
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 121-139
Genetic and epigenetic effects of environmental arsenicals
Toby G. Rossman and Catherine B. Klein
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1135-1141
Generation of thioarsenicals is dependent on the enterohepatic circulation in rats
Na Bu, Hong Yun Wang, Wen Hui Hao, Xin Liu, Shi Xu, Bin Wu, Yasumi Anan, Yasumitsu Ogra, Yi Jia Lou and Hua Naranmandura
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1064-1073
Direct analysis and stability of methylated trivalent arsenic metabolites in cells and tissues
Jenna M. Currier, Milan Svoboda, Tomáš Matoušek, Jirí Dedina and Miroslav Stýblo
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1347-1354
Trivalent arsenicals and glucose use different translocation pathways in mammalian GLUT1
Xuan Jiang, Joseph R. McDermott, A. Abdul Ajees, Barry P. Rosen and Zijuan Liu
Metallomics, 2010, 2, 211-219
In vivo micro X-ray analysis utilizing synchrotron radiation of the gametophytes of three arsenic accumulating ferns, Pteris vittata L., Pteris cretica L. and Athyrium yokoscense, in different growth stages
Teruhiko Kashiwabara, Sakiko Mitsuo, Akiko Hokura, Nobuyuki Kitajima, Tomoko Abe and Izumi Nakai
Metallomics, 2010, 2, 261-270
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