Archive for the ‘Metal of the Month’ Category

Metal of the Month: Gadolinium

GadoliniumNot a terribly well known metal, this lanthanide is found in a number of everyday products. A silvery-white metal that is very malleable, gadolinium is only ever found in nature in minerals. Discovered by Swiss chemist Jean Charles Galissard de Marignac, the element is named in honour of Finnish chemist and geologist Johan Gadolin.

Gadolinium is a useful addition to alloys, making them more resistant to high temperature and oxidation, and is often found in magnets, electronic components and recording heads of video recorders. It has also been used to make green phosphors for colour televisions and in the production of CDs.

VHS CD electronics

CDs and the recording heads of video recorders often contain Gd

Because of its paramagnetic properties, in medicine gadolinium complexes are used as contrasting agents in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), especially in diagnosing cancerous tumours, as it accumulates in abnormal tissue of the brain and body. Currently gadolinium does not have any known biological role.

Recent research has suggested that gadolinium could be a greener replacement for CFCs in refrigeration.

Gadolinium also has a number of other specialized roles including: in the shielding of nuclear reactors, in neutron therapy, and in nuclear marine propulsion.

If you want to know more about gadolinium, take a look at the papers below and discover all about the latest gadolinium research. These will be free to read until June 15th.

You can also take a look at the RSC Visual Element Periodic Table, and the Chemistry in its Element podcast.

And if you work in the area of gadolinium biology, we hope you will consider submitting your next paper to Metallomics

MRI scan

Gadolinium complexes are used as contrasting agents for MRI scans

Lanthanides inhibit adipogenesis with promotion of cell proliferation in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes
Cong-Cong Hou, Min Feng, Kui Wang and Xiao-Gai Yang
Metallomics, 2013, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3MT00020F

Receptor recognition of transferrin bound to lanthanides and actinides: a discriminating step in cellular acquisition of f-block metals
Gauthier J.-P. Deblonde, Manuel Sturzbecher-Hoehne, Anne B. Mason and Rebecca J. Abergel
Metallomics, 2013, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3MT20237B

Accumulation of rare earth elements in human bone within the lifespan
Sofia Zaichick, Vladimir Zaichick, Vasilii Karandashev and Sergey Nosenko
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 186-194
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00069H

Nuclear reactor cooling towers

This element is used in the shielding of nuclear reactors

Simple and rapid quantification of gadolinium in urine and blood plasma samples by means of total reflection X-ray fluorescence (TXRF)
Lena Telgmann, Michael Holtkamp, Jens Künnemeyer, Carsten Gelhard, Marcel Hartmann, Annika Klose, Michael Sperling and Uwe Karst
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1035-1040
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00054C

Identification and characterization of gadolinium(III) complexes in biological tissue extracts
Chethaka L. Kahakachchi and Dennis A. Moore
Metallomics, 2010, 2, 490-497
DOI: 10.1039/B915806E

Incorporation of excess gadolinium into human bone from medical contrast agents
Thomas H. Darrah, Jennifer J. Prutsman-Pfeiffer, Robert J. Poreda, M. Ellen Campbell, Peter V. Hauschka and Robyn E. Hannigan
Metallomics, 2009, 1, 479-488
DOI: 10.1039/B905145G

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Metal of The Month: Molybdenum

Molybdenite is the main source of molybdenum

April’s metal of the month is molybdenum, a strong and silvery metal able to withstand extremely high temperatures without changing its shape, expanding or softening significantly.

Molybdenum does not occur as a free metal on Earth but is found in various oxidation states in minerals and is thought to be the 25th most abundant element in the oceans. The main source of this element is the ore molybdenite and most of its production is as a by-product of copper production.

Molybdenum has the symbol Mo and atomic number 42

Currently, the main use of molybdenum is in manufacturing. Due to its relative strength and heat resistance it is also used by both the military and in space exploration. Most of the world production of molybdenum is converted into molybdenum disulfide, a lubricant additive used in aircrafts and space vehicles.

Molybdenum is extremely important for plants and animals and is an essential component of the enzyme nitrogenase which converts the atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia. Leguminous plants use the nitrogen-fixing enzyme nitrogenase and molybdenum is found in legumes, lentils and grains.

Molybdenum is found in legumes, lentils and grains

In humans, although toxic in other than small quantities, molybdenum is important for chemical reactions such as processing amino acids and converting purines in uric acid, an antioxidant important to protect cells from oxidative damage. The average human takes in about 0.3 grammes a day and stores about 5 milligrammes in the body.

Molybdenum deficiencies are rare, but some cases of molybdenum cofactor deficiency and deficiency of molybdenum due to total parenteral nutrition (intravenous feeding) have been reported. These types of deficiencies result in high levels of sulfite and urate and can cause neurological damage.

If you want to know more about molybdenum, take a look at the papers below and discover all about the latest molybdenum research. These will be free to read until May 27th.

You can also take a look at the RSC Visual Element Periodic Table, and the Chemistry in its Element podcast.

And if you work in the area of molybdenum biology, we hope you will consider submitting your next paper to Metallomics.

Molybdenum disulfide is used as a lubricant for space vehicles

The molybdoproteome of Starkeya novella – insights into the diversity and functions of molybdenum containing proteins in response to changing growth conditions
Ulrike Kappler and   Amanda S. Nouwens
Metallomics, 2013,5, 325-334
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20230A

Effects of large-scale amino acid substitution in the polypeptide tether connecting the heme and molybdenum domains on catalysis in human sulfite oxidase
Kayunta Johnson-Winters, Anna R. Nordstrom, Amanda C. Davis, Gordon Tollin and   John H. Enemark
Metallomics, 2010,2, 766-770
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00021C

Molybdenum metabolism in the alga Chlamydomonas stands at the crossroad of those in Arabidopsis and humans
Ángel Llamas, Manuel Tejada-Jiménez, Emilio Fernández and   Aurora Galvána
Metallomics, 2011,3, 578-590
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00032B

Molybdenum can be found in the oceans

A proteome investigation of roxarsone degradation by Alkaliphilus oremlandii strain OhILAs
Peter Chovanec, John F. Stolz and   Partha Basu
Metallomics, 2010,2, 133-139
DOI: 10.1039/B915479E

A survey of arsenic, manganese, boron, thorium, and other toxic metals in the groundwater of a West Bengal, India neighbourhood
Thomas Bacquart, Kelly Bradshaw, Seth Frisbie, Erika Mitchell, George Springston, Jeffrey Defelice, Hannah Dustinc and   Bibudhendra Sarkar
Metallomics, 2012,4, 653-659
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20020A

Low-molecular-mass metal complexes in the mouse brain
Sean P. McCormick, Mrinmoy Chakrabarti, Allison L. Cockrell, Jinkyu Park, Lora S. Lindahla and   Paul A. Lindahl
Metallomics, 2013,5, 232-241
DOI: 10.1039/C3MT00009E

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Metal of The Month: Titanium

Titanium has symbol Ti and atomic number 22

It is again the time for the Metal of The Month, which today is Titanium, a ‘British’ element discovered in Cornwall in 1791 by reverend William Gregor.

Titanium is a very light silvery transition metal, strong and resistant to corrosion. Its physical properties must have inspired the name which is a tribute to the Titans of the Greek mythology, sons of the Earth goddess.

Titanium is often used for dental implants

As you probably already know, titanium has many uses and applications in our everyday life. Each year we use about 4 millions of tons of TiO2, the oxide form of titanium, and most of it is used for paint, for food confectionary or as a whitener in toothpaste. It is found in jewelry, in watches, sport equipment, and it’s used for dental implants and joint replacements.

Titanium is almost everywhere. It also contributed to the elegant design of the Gugghenheim museum in Bilbao, a spectacular mix of stone, glass and titanium. It is indeed the titanium cladding that makes of this building the shiny and impressive work of contemporary architecture that we can admire today.

Interestingly, Titanocene Dichloride is a titanum-based compound with great potential as chemotherapy drug and was the first non-platinum compound to undergo clinical trial. The current research focuses now on the properties and mechanisms of action of this drug.

Titanium cladding used for the exterior of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain. Image credit:©Pedrosala/www.shutterstock.com

Do you want to know more about titanium? Take a look at the article below and discover all about titanium research. These papers will be free to read until April 19th.

You can also take a look at the RSC Visual Element Periodic Table, and the Chemistry in its Element podcast.

And if you work in the area of titanium biology, we hope you will consider submitting your next paper to Metallomics.

 Titanocene anticancer complexes and their binding mode of action to human serum albumin: A computational study
Susan W. Sarsam ,  David R. Nutt ,  Katja Strohfeldt and Kimberly A. Watson
Metallomics, 2011,3, 152-161
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00041H

Titanium is used in sport equipment

Titanium preferential binding sites in human serum transferrin at physiological concentrations
Yoana Nuevo-Ordoñez ,  M. Montes-Bayón ,  E. Blanco González and A. Sanz-Medel
Metallomics, 2011,3, 1297-1303
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00109D 

Effects of titanium(IV) ions on human monocyte-derived dendritic cells
Erwin PH Chan ,  Amir Mhawi ,  Peta Clode ,  Martin Saunders and Luis Filgueira
Metallomics, 2009,1, 166-174
DOI: 10.1039/B820871A

Pseudo-halide derivatives of titanocene Y: synthesis and cytotoxicity studies
James Claffey ,  Anthony Deally ,  Brendan Gleeson ,  Megan Hogan ,  Luis Miguel Menéndez Méndez ,  Helge Müller-Bunz ,  Siddappa Patil ,  Denise Wallis and Matthias Tacke
Metallomics, 2009,1, 511-517
DOI: 10.1039/B911753A

All images are courtesy of ©Shutterstock.

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Metal of the Month: Ruthenium

As February comes to a close, it is now time for the metal of the month: ruthenium.

Ruthenium was the last of the six platinum metals to be discovered after palladium, iridium, osmium, platinum and rhodium.

Ruthenium was initially found in the Ural mountains

It is one of the rarest metals on Earth and is mainly found in the Ural mountains, USA and South Africa.

Its discovery was attributed to Karl Karlovich Klaus, a Russian chemist who extracted and purified the new lustrous and silvery white metal while investigating the waste residues of a platinum refinery in 1844. The name ‘ruthenium’ comes from the latin word ‘Ruthenia’, meaning Russia, as the ruthenium ores were initially discovered in the Russian Ural mountains.

Ruthenium is one of the most effective hardeners for platinum and palladium and is alloyed with these metals to make electrical contacts for wear resistance.  It is used in chip resistors and in electrical contacts in alloys and filaments, in jewelry and in pen nibs. In addition, the inorganic dye ammoniated ruthenium oxychloride, also known as ruthenium red, is used in electron microscopy for staining  nucleic acids and pectins.

Ruthenium can be used in new solar cells

Interestingly, some ruthenium complexes can absorb light and have been employed in dye-synthesised solar cells, a new low cost solar cell system which has the ability to absorbe light through smog and weather conditions that would normally inhibit light absorption.

To our knowledge, ruthenium has no known biological role, but has a great potential as anti-cancer drugs. Some compounds based on ruthenium have been developed and tested against cancer cell lines and resulted in less severe side effects compared to the more established platinum drugs. Promising ruthenium-based drugs are currently under clinical evaluation against some metastatic tumours and colon cancers.

Ruthenium is often used in fountain pen nibs

To know more about the properties of ruthenium and its applications, please access the papers below. They will be free for you to enjoy until March 20th.

You can also take a look at the RSC Visual Element Periodic Table, and the Chemistry in its Element podcast. And if you work in the area of ruthenium biology, we hope you will consider submitting your next paper to Metallomics.

Distinct cellular fates for KP1019 and NAMI-A determined by X-ray fluorescence imaging of single cells
Jade B. Aitken ,  Sumy Antony ,  Claire M. Weekley ,  Barry Lai ,  Leone Spiccia and Hugh H. Harris
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 1051-1056
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20072D

Contrasting cellular uptake pathways for chlorido and iodido iminopyridine ruthenium arene anticancer complexes
Isolda Romero-Canelón ,  Ana M. Pizarro ,  Abraha Habtemariam and Peter J. Sadler
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 1271-1279
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20189E

Ruthenium red is a biological stain used in electron microscopy

Mechanism of interstrand migration of organoruthenium anticancer complexes within a DNA duplex
Kui Wu ,  Qun Luo ,  Wenbing Hu ,  Xianchan Li ,  Fuyi Wang ,  Shaoxiang Xiong and Peter J. Sadler
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 139-148
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT00162D

Combination of metallomics and proteomics to study the effects of the metallodrug RAPTA-T on human cancer cells
Dirk A. Wolters ,  Maria Stefanopoulou ,  Paul J. Dyson and Michael Groessl
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 1185-1196
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20070H

Cellular uptake and subcellular distribution of ruthenium-based metallodrugs under clinical investigation versus cisplatin
Michael Groessl ,  Olivier Zava and Paul J. Dyson
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 591-599
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00101E

Inhibitory effect of platinum and ruthenium bipyridyl complexes on porcine pancreatic phospholipase A2
Tina Kamčeva ,  Jörg Flemmig ,  Bojana Damnjanović ,  Jürgen Arnhold ,  Aleksandar Mijatović and Marijana Petković
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1056-1063
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00088H

All images are courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Metal of the Month: Mercury

Sun rising over Mercury

Named after the planet recently popular in the news for the discovery of water in its north pole, mercury is the metal of this month.

Mercury was a Roman god, patron of financial gain, commerce, eloquence and luck. Known as “messenger of gods” for his numerous flights from place to place, he was also considered god of travellers and thieves.

The god Mercury influenced science in many ways, and his name is now associated to both the planet and the chemical element.

Mercury thermometer

People have always been fascinated by mercury because of its appearance of heavy liquid metal extracted by heating the red ore cinnabar. It is a heavy silvery metal with mirror-like appearance and is liquid at room temperature. Most of us have probably used a mercury thermometer at least once. In a mercury thermometer, a glass tube is filled with liquid mercury and has a scale marked on the tube. With changes of temperature, mercury expands and the temperature can be measured reading the scale on the tube. Today it is not easy to buy a mercury thermometer for home use for a simple reason: the mercury released from a broken thermometer is highly toxic. The pure metal is in fact absorbed easily by ingestion, inhalation or through the skin and can cause chronic or acute poisoning.
The use of mercury is now limited to industry in the manufacture of chlorine and sodium hydroxide. This metal can be used in making advertising signs, mercury switches and other electrical apparatus. However, because of its toxicity, also these uses are considered obsolete and are currently under review.

As mercury has no known biological role and is highly poisonous, it is now handled with good care and the latest research aims to find ways to reduce adsorption of mercury by the human body or improving detection of the metal in fish/animal tissue, water or food.

To know all about the most important discoveries related to mercury, here is a list of papers for you to take a look. They will be free until February 18th. Enjoy!

Greek and Roman god Mercury

Metallomics investigations on potential binding partners of methylmercury in tuna fish muscle tissue using complementary mass spectrometric techniques
Daniel J. Kutscher ,  Alfredo Sanz-Medel and Jörg Bettmer
Metallomics, 2012,4, 807-813
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20055D

Identification of mercury and other metals complexes with metallothioneins in dolphin liver by hydrophilic interaction liquid chromatography with the parallel detection by ICP MS and electrospray hybrid linear/orbital trap MS/MS
Z. Pedrero ,  L. Ouerdane ,  S. Mounicou ,  R. Lobinski ,  M. Monperrus and D. Amouroux
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 473-479
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT00006G

Exploring the structural basis for selenium/mercury antagonism in Allium fistulosum
David H. McNear ,  Scott E. Afton and Joseph A. Caruso
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 267-276
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT00158F

The presence of mercury selenide in various tissues of the striped dolphin: evidence from μ-XRF-XRD and XAFS analyses
Emiko Nakazawa ,  Tokutaka Ikemoto ,  Akiko Hokura ,  Yasuko Terada ,  Takashi Kunito ,  Shinsuke Tanabe and Izumi Nakai
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 719-725
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00106F

Liquid mercury at room temperature

The chemical forms of mercury and selenium in whale skeletal muscle
Graham N. George ,  Tracy C. MacDonald ,  Malgorzata Korbas ,  Satya P. Singh ,  Gary J. Myers ,  Gene E. Watson ,  John L. O’Donoghue and Ingrid J. Pickering
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1232-1237
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00077B

Adduct formation of Thimerosal with human and rat hemoglobin: a study using liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC/ESI-TOF-MS)
Rasmus Janzen ,  Miriam Schwarzer ,  Michael Sperling ,  Martin Vogel ,  Tanja Schwerdtle and Uwe Karst
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 847-852
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00043H

In vivo phytochelatins and Hg–phytochelatin complexes in Hg-stressed Brassica chinensis L.
Liqin Chen ,  Limin Yang and Qiuquan Wang
Metallomics, 2009, 1, 101-106
DOI: 10.1039/B815477E

You can also take a look at the RSC Visual Element Periodic Table, and the Chemistry in its Element podcast. If you work in the area of mercury biology, we hope you will consider submitting your next paper to Metallomics.

All images are courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Metal of the Month: Cobalt

With the new year fast approaching, we are happy to close 2012 presenting the last Metal of the Month. The metal of December is in fact a lustrous, silvery metal with a blue cast: Cobalt.

Pompeii ruins where cobalt glass has been found

Cobalt was found in glass from the ruins of Pompeii

Cobalt has been in use since 2250 BC, when the Persians used it to colour glass a bright blue. It has been found in Egyptian sculptures, in ancient Chinese pottery, and in glass from the ruins of Pompeii.

Blue cobalt chinese pottery

The blue smalt was obtained by melting a mixture of the roasted mineral smaltite, quartz and potassium carbonate, yielding a dark blue silicate glass which is ground after the production.

The name “cobalt” comes from the German term “Kobald”, which means “evil spirit” or “goblin”. It seems that this superstitious term was used for the ore of cobalt by miners. Miners attempts at smelting these ores to produce metals such as copper or nickel always failed. Also, because the primary ores of cobalt contain arsenic, smelting the ore oxidized the arsenic content into the highly toxic and volatile arsenic oxide, which contributed to the decrease of the reputation of these ores.

Today cobalt has many diverse commercial, industrial and military applications. It is mainly used in super-alloys, which are largely used to make gas turbine aircraft engines. It is used in electroporating because of its appearance, hardness and resistance to oxidation. Finally, it is still used to produce permanent and brilliant blue colors in porcelain, glass, pottery, tiles and enamels. Some of the cobalt compounds used to colour porcelain are known as cobalt blue, cerulean, cobalt green and cobalt yellow (this last obtained mixing potassium and cobalt).
Additionally, cobalt is also important in human nutrition as it is part of the vitamin B12, which plays a significant role in the metabolism of every cell of the body.

To discover more about cobalt, its toxicity and applications, have a look at these selected papers published in Metallomics.

turbines of a plane

Cobalt is used to make gas turbine aircraft

Pseudomonas putida KT2440 response to nickel or cobalt induced stress by quantitative proteomics
Prasun Ray, Vincent Girard, Manon Gault, Claudette Job, Marc Bonneu, Marie-Andrée Mandrand-Berthelot, Surya S. Singh, Dominique Job and Agnès Rodrigue
Metallomics, 2013,  Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20147J

The biological occurrence and trafficking of cobalt
Sachi Okamoto and Lindsay D. Eltis
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 963-970
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00056J

Cobalt stress in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica: molecular bases for toxicity and resistance
F. Barras and M. Fontecave
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1130-1134
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00099C

blue cobalt jewelery

Blue cobalt jewellery

Phosphoglycerate mutase from Trypanosoma brucei is hyperactivated by cobalt in vitro, but not in vivo
Fazia Adyani Ahmad Fuad, Linda A. Fothergill-Gilmore, Matthew W. Nowicki, Lorna J. Eades, Hugh P. Morgan, Iain W. McNae, Paul A. M. Michels and Malcolm D. Walkinshaw
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1310-1317
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00119A

Enhanced photodynamic effect of cobalt(III) dipyridophenazine complex on thyrotropin receptor expressing HEK293 cells
Sounik Saha, Ritankar Majumdar, Rajan R. Dighe and Akhil R. Chakravarty
Metallomics, 2010, 2, 754-765
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00028K

These papers will be free to read until January 9th. You can also take a look at the RSC Visual Element Periodic Table, and the Chemistry in its Element podcast. If you work in the area of cobalt biology, we hope you will consider submitting your next paper to Metallomics.

All images are courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Metal of the Month: cadmium

As November comes to an end, it is time for the metal of the month: cadmium.

Cadmium is a soft bluish-white metal chemically similar to the other two stable metals zinc and mercury. It is a natural element of the earth’s crust, although it is found at relatively low concentrations. It was discovered by the German chemist Friedrich Stromeyer in 1817 as an impurity of zinc carbonate. The expected colour for zinc carbonate was white, but when Stromeyer tried to convert the carbonate into oxide by heating, it always turned to be yellow. After careful and unsuccessful search for iron contamination, it did not take long to realise that converting zinc carbonate in oxide by heating would give the world’s first ever cadmium metal. Stromeyer then suggested the name of cadmium after ‘cadmia,’ the Latin name for calamine. Calamine is an old name for a zinc ore.

Cadmium is often used as a pigment

Today, cadmium has a wide range of applications and is used in many types of solders, in rods to control atomic fission and in blue and green phosphors in colour televisions.
Cadmium sulfide, so called cadmium yellow, is commonly used as a pigment.

Moreover, cadmium is used extensively in electroporating, which accounts for about 60% of its use, and it is used in rechargeable batteries. Interestingly, against the initial idea of using rechargeable batteries for reducing waste produced by standard disposable batteries, the nickel-cadmium batteries are not environmentally friendly and are now prohibited in Europe. Certain cadmium forms and compounds are in fact toxic and can cause birth defects and cancer. As a result, the use of cadmium is strictly controlled and nickel-cadmium batteries have now been replaced by nickel-zinc batteries.

Cadmium is used in rechargeable batteries

Learn more about cadmium via the RSC Visual Element Periodic Table, and the Chemistry in its Element podacst. If you work in the area of cadmium biology, we hope you will consider submitting your next paper to Metallomics.

In vitro assessment of chelating agents with regard to their abstraction efficiency of Cd2+ bound to plasma proteins
Elham Zeini Jahromi and Jürgen Gailer
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 995-1003
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20084H

Roles of ZIP8, ZIP14, and DMT1 in transport of cadmium and manganese in mouse kidney proximal tubule cells
Hitomi Fujishiro ,  Yu Yano ,  Yukina Takada ,  Maya Tanihara and Seiichiro Himeno
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 700-708
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20024D

From cysteine to longer chain thiols: thermodynamic analysis of cadmium binding by phytochelatins and their fragments
Elena Chekmeneva ,  Rui Gusmão ,  José Manuel Díaz-Cruz ,  Cristina Ariño and Miquel Esteban
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 838-846
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00028D

Zinc, cadmium and nickel increase the activation of NF-κB and the release of cytokines from THP-1 monocytic cells
Marisa Freitas and Eduarda Fernandes
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1238-1243
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00050K

The preferential accumulation of cadmium in the head portion of the freshwater planarian, Dugesia japonica (Platyhelminthes: Turbellaria)
Jui-Pin Wu ,  Hon-Cheng Chen and Mei-Hui Li
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1368-1375
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00093D

Epigenetics in metal carcinogenesis: nickel, arsenic, chromium and cadmium
Adriana Arita and Max Costa
Metallomics, 2009, 1, 222-228
DOI: 10.1039/B903049B

These papers will be free to read until December 13th.

All images are courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Metal of the Month: Arsenic

Arsenic periodic tableI 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.

Arsenic bottle

Arsenic is often used as a poison

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
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT00181K

Fireworks

One use for arsenic is as a colourant

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
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00118C

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
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00133G

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
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00070A

Spring water bottle

Groundwater used for drinking can be contaminated with arsenic

Genetic and epigenetic effects of environmental arsenicals
Toby G. Rossman and Catherine B. Klein
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1135-1141
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00074H

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
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00036E

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
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00095K

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
DOI: 10.1039/B920471G

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
DOI: 10.1039/B922866G

All images are courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Metal of the Month: Selenium

A reflection of the moon on water

Selenium, from the Greek meaning 'moon'

Keeping with the theme of the letter “S”, September’s Metal of the Month is selenium. Selenium takes its name from the Greek meaning ‘moon’, and it usually exists in two forms: a red powder or a silvery metal. Native elemental selenium is actually quite rare and it is most often found in minerals and ores.

It has photovoltaic and photoconductive properties, and is often used in solar cells, photoelectric cells, and photocopiers. It is used in the manufacturing of glass and stainless steel. Selenium is also an active ingredient in anti-dandruff shampoos!

Brazil nuts

Brazil nuts contain a high dietary source of selenium

Though it is toxic in excess, selenium is an essential trace element for humans, and is found in a number of amino acids, and is therefore thought to have a role in enzymatic reactions and the function of the thyroid gland. Brazil nuts are one of the richest dietary sources of selenium; it can also be found in other nuts, cereals meat, mushrooms and eggs.

Learn more about selenium via the RSC Visual Elements Periodic Table, and the Chemistry in its Element podcast. If you work in the area of selenium biology, we hope that you will consider submitting your next paper to Metallomics.

Take a look at some papers we have published on selenium in Metallomics. They will be free to read for 3 weeks.

Application of XANES spectroscopy in understanding the metabolism of selenium in isolated rainbow trout hepatocytes: insights into selenium toxicity
Sougat Misra, Derek Peak and Som Niyogi
Metallomics, 2010, 2, 710-717
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00008F

Targeting selenium metabolism and selenoproteins: Novel avenues for drug Periodic table of seleniumdiscovery
Sarah Elizabeth Jackson-Rosario and William Thomas Self
Metallomics, 2010, 2, 112-116
DOI: 10.1039/B917141J

Preventing metal-mediated oxidative DNA damage with selenium compounds
Erin E. Battin, Matthew T. Zimmerman, Ria R. Ramoutar, Carolyn E. Quarles and Julia L. Brumaghim
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 503-512
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00063A

Investigation of the selenium metabolism in cancer cell lines
Kristoffer Lunøe, Charlotte Gabel-Jensen, Stefan Stürup, Lars Andresen, Søren Skov and Bente Gammelgaard
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 162-168
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00091D

Identification in human urine and blood of a novel selenium metabolite, Se-methylselenoneine, a potential biomarker of metabolization in mammals of the naturally occurring selenoneine, by HPLC coupled to electrospray hybrid linear ion trap-orbital ion trap MS
Marlène Klein, Laurent Ouerdane, Maïté Bueno and Florence Pannier
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 513-520
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00060D

Solar cells

Selenium is also used in the production of solar cells

Selenium effects on arsenic cytotoxicity and protein phosphorylation in human kidney cells using chip-based nanoLC-MS/MS
Orkun Alp, Yaofang Zhang, Edward J. Merino and Joseph A. Caruso
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 482-490
DOI: 10.1039/C0MT00110D

The chemical forms of mercury and selenium in whale skeletal muscle
Graham N. George, Tracy C. MacDonald, Malgorzata Korbas, Satya P. Singh, Gary J. Myers, Gene E. Watson, John L. O’Donoghue and Ingrid J. Pickering
Metallomics, 2011, 3, 1232-1237
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00077B

Human urinary excretion and metabolism of 82Se-enriched selenite and selenate determined by LC-ICP-MS
Bente Gammelgaard, Stefan Stürup and Malene Vinther Christensen
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 149-155
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT00163B

Large-scale identification of selenium metabolites by online size-exclusion-reversed phase liquid chromatography with combined inductively coupled plasma (ICP-MS) and electrospray ionization linear trap-Orbitrap mass spectrometry (ESI-MSn)
Hugues Preud’homme, Johann Far, Sandra Gil-Casal and Ryszard Lobinski
Metallomics, 2012, 4, 422-432
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT00172A

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Metal of the month: Vanadium

Vanadium periodic tableAs August comes to a close, it’s time for the latest Metal of the Month: vanadium. It was originally discovered by Andrés Manuel del Río, a Spanish-born Mexican mineralogist, in 1801, and is named after ‘Vanadis’, the old Norse name for the Scandinavian goddess Freyja.

Vanadium is an essential element for humans, although we require very little: less than 0.04 mg a day. Below are some papers from Metallomics looking at various aspects of vanadium biology, including its use in anti-diabetic drugs and its potential toxicity. These papers will all be free to access until 21 September, so do take a look.

Don’t forget you can find out more about vanadium (and any other metal of interest) via the RSC’s Visual Elements Periodic Table, and take a listen to the Chemistry World ‘Chemistry in its Element’ podcast.

Pistons

Vanadium is often used in piston rods

Gene expression changes in human lung cells exposed to arsenic, chromium, nickel or vanadium indicate the first steps in cancer
Hailey A. Clancy, Hong Sun, Lisa Passantino, Thomas Kluz, Alexandra Muñoz, Jiri Zavadil and Max Costa
Metallomics, 2012,4, 784-793
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20074K

Changes in the antioxidant defence and in selenium concentration in tissues of vanadium exposed rats
Cristina Sanchez-Gonzalez, Carmen Bermudez-Peña, Cristina E. Trenzado, Heidi Goenaga-Infante, María Montes-Bayon, Alfredo Sanz-Medel and Juan Llopis
Metallomics, 2012,4, 814-819
DOI: 10.1039/C2MT20066J

Communication: Biotransformation of BMOV in the presence of blood serum proteins
Daniele Sanna, Linda Bíró, Péter Buglyó, Giovanni Micera and Eugenio Garribba
Metallomics, 2012,4, 33-36
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00161B

Colour television set

Another use of vanadium is in colour television screens

Minireview: Recent advances into vanadyl, vanadate and decavanadate interactions with actin
S. Ramos, J. J. G. Moura and M. Aureliano
Metallomics, 2012,4, 16-22
DOI: 10.1039/C1MT00124H

Glucose lowering activity by oral administration of bis(allixinato)oxidovanadium(IV) complex in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice and gene expression profiling in their skeletal muscles
Makoto Hiromura, Yusuke Adachi, Megumi Machida, Masakazu Hattori and Hiromu Sakurai
Metallomics, 2009,1, 92-100
DOI: 10.1039/B815384C

Follow Metallomics on Twitter: @metallomics

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