83Bi Bismuth

Year Discovered

15th Century

Discovered By


Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


The meaning of the name is unknown but its origins are German. Bismuth is a brittle, pinkish-silver metal that is stable in air and water but reacts with some acids. Bismuth, shares a property with water and gallium, it is less dense as a solid than as a liquid. It conducts heat and electricity poorly. Bismuth has a number of uses, including alloys (usually with iron), pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It is also used in thermocouples, catalysts, as a carrier for uranium fuel in nuclear reactors, in fire detection devices, and fire extinguishers. It often is used in stomach medicines for ulcer treatments, and as a hemorrhoid ointment.

Biological Benefits

Bismuth has no known biological use.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefits for life processes in plants and animals.


Bismuth is often found in pure native form, as well as in the mineral bismuthinite. It is chiefly obtained as a by-product of copper, lead, tungsten and molybdenum processing. Most bismuth is produced from in China, Laos and South Korea.