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Information @ a Glance

General

  • Selenium is an essential trace mineral for the human body, primarily because it acts as an effective antioxidant preventing harmful cell damage.
  • Selenium is a trace mineral that is essential to good health but required only in small amounts . Selenium is incorporated into proteins to make selenoproteins, which are important antioxidant enzymes.

Source and Technology

  • Plant foods are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries throughout the world. The content of selenium in food depends on the selenium content of the soil where plants are grown or animals are raised .
  • Selenium compounds may be used as an arming agent for antibodies, peptides, small molecules, and nucleotides (e.g. aptamers). The selenium technology attached to a targeting agent delivers a lethal payload to tumor cells, pathogenic microbes, or other specific cells. Because of seleniumís unique mode of action, selenium-armed agents have been shown to kill bacteria at 4o C, indicating that there need not be metabolic activity for selenium to be effective.

Applications

  • Growing uses of selenium include: Selenium enriched fertilizers are now being used in Finland, New Zealand, China and United States to get selenium into the food chain and as an alternative to selenium addition directly to animal feed. ,  Selenium additives to vitamin supplements,  Selenium treatments are being developed for a number of ailments including dermatology, tendonitis, periodontal disease, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, macular degeneration and cataracts, herpes and lupus inflammation to name a few.,  Selenium is also being used in new thin-screen technology in copper-indium-selenium solar cells

Market

  • The rapid increase in selenium price is the result of large purchases of selenium by China in second half 2003, depleting refinery inventories. This high demand continues and as spot supply dries up, purchasers are now reportedly trying to locate supply under long term contracts with refiners.
  • Consumption is estimated at 2,650 tonnes in 2003 and has been increasing at 1.6% per annum over the period 1990 to 2000. Historically, the growth appears steady; however, the recent market activity of China purchasing all available selenium inventories suggests much larger growth rates in China as its economy expands at a very rapid rate .

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