• 23.05.2017
  • News
  • Swiss National Science Foundation

The world map of a trace element

Selenhaltige Lebensmittel: Kokosnüsse sind Top.
Image: pixabay
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Selenhaltige Lebensmittel: Kokosnüsse sind Top.
Selenhaltige Lebensmittel: Kokosnüsse sind Top. (Image: pixabay)

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.

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.

  • Associations

Horizons No. 112
  • 2017
  • Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences
  • Swiss National Science Foundation
  • Magazine

At the end of life

Horizons is embracing impermanence and the inevitability of death. But when exactly does life end? How does our society deal with dying and death? And how much self-determination is there in a living will?

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