Our Favourite Fun Facts about Selenium

Image of brazil nuts scattered across a grey background with the word selenium spelled out next to it

Selenium is a chemical element found in a wide variety of products. Is is also one of the most important minerals for healthy functioning of the human body, and so is classed as essential. 

However, Selenium has many other uses in the world, and quite and interesting history! Here are some of our favourite interesting facts about selenium:

1. Selenium gets its name from the Greek word "selene," which means "moon." Selene was the Greek goddess of the moon.

2. Selenium has atomic number 34, meaning each atom has 34 protons. The element symbol of selenium is Se.

Image of a large white tile with a blue border and the chemincal symbol for selenium Se written on it, with a white background

3. Selenium was discovered jointly in 1817 by Swedish chemists Jöns Jakob Berzelius (1779–1848) and Johan Gottlieb Gahn (1745–1818).

4. Selenium is a nonmetal. Like many nonmetals, it exhibits different colours and structures (allotropes) depending on the conditions.

5. Brazil nuts are high in selenium, even if they are grown in soil that is not rich in the element. A single nut provides enough selenium to meet the daily requirement for a human adult.

image viewed from above of a large heart shaped basket filled with brazil nuts and other brazil nuts scattered around it. The basket is sitting on a neatly folded kitchen towel and they are both on a wooden work surface

6. English electrical engineer Willoughby Smith (1828–1891) discovered that selenium reacts to light (photoelectric effect), leading to its use as a light sensor in the 1870s.

7. Scottish-born American inventor Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922) made a selenium-based photophone in 1879.

8. The primary use of selenium is to decolorize glass, to colour glass red, and to make the pigment China Red. Other uses are in photocells, in laser printers and photocopiers, in steels, and in semiconductors.

Image of the upper portions and necks of three red glass vases against a white background

9. There are six natural isotopes of selenium. One is radioactive, while the other five are stable. However, the half-life of the unstable isotope is so long that it is essentially stable. Another 23 unstable isotopes have been produced.

10. Some plants require high levels of selenium to survive, so the presence of those plants means the soil is rich in the element.

11. Liquid selenium exhibits extremely high surface tension.

12. Approximately 2,000 tons of selenium are extracted annually worldwide.

13. Selenium is most commonly produced as a byproduct of copper refining.

14. The element was featured in the films "Ghostbusters" and "Evolution."

15. Selenium is important to several enzymes, including antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and thioredoxin reductase and the deiodinase enzymes that convert thyroid hormones into other forms. So taking a selenium supplement can be very beneficial to your health. Discover the top health benefits of selenium supplement in our blog. 

Image viewed from above of a small round white ceramic bowl filled with light coloured selenium capsules on a blue background

Flat lay image of birch and wilde selenium supplement capsule refull pouch on a wooden background with capsules scattered close by and a glass of water and small white flowers next to it

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