52Te Tellerium

Year Discovered

1783

Discovered By

Baron Franz Joseph Muller von Reichenstein of Austria/Hungary

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.

Description

Named from the Latin word meaning “earth”, tellurium is a metalloid element, that has a very metallic silvery-white appearance. It is very brittle and is unreactive with water and some acids. It does react with air. It is used in semiconductors, electronics, ceramics and catalysts, especially in the petroleum industry. It is used in alloys, especially with steel and copper to improve ductility, and with lead to prevent corrosion. It has an odd side effect in humans––ingesting even a very small amount will cause terrible garlic breath and body odor.

Biological Benefits

Tellurium has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefits for life processes in plants and animals.

Sources

Tellurium is found in most copper ores and chiefly is obtained as a by-product of copper processing. Gold and silver forms compounds with tellurium––best known is calavarite (gold telluride). Other tellurium-bearing minerals include tellurite (tellurium oxide) and sylvanite. Tellurium is mined in Japan and Canada.