The world map of a trace element

Selenium is important to all living creatures. A unique project is mapping the worldwide distribution of this trace element and is trying to find the reasons for the lack of it.

Selenhaltige Lebensmittel: Kokosnüsse sind Top.
Image: pixabay

The trace element selenium (Se) only occurs in tiny concentrations and yet is essential to living beings. It usually gets less attention than its big brothers iron, iodine or zinc, but neither human beings nor animals can do without it. This was reason enough for the biogeochemist Lenny Winkel from the Department of Environmental Sciences at ETH Zurich and Eawag to devote herself more intensively to this trace element. And Winkel isn't just looking at it on a molecular level, but as part of a bigger picture. Together with her team, she's investigating what the distribution of selenium looks like across the globe, and what factors determine where it occurs.

From "Horizons" no. 112 March 2017, Alexandra Bröhm.

Categories

  • Cartography
  • Dietetics
  • Nutritional Research, Vitaminology