58Ce Cerium

Year Discovered


Discovered By

Jons Jakob Berzelius and W. Hisinger of Sweden

Biological Rating

Not necessary for life.


Named after the asteroid Ceres, which was discovered at the same time, cerium is a soft, gray metal. It is very active, reacting with air, water and most acids and bases. Pure cerium may ignite if scratched with a knife. Cerium is the most common of the lanthanide metals. It comprises about 50 % of the alloy mischmetal, which is used in lighter flints. It also is used in heat resistant alloys, and gas lantern mantles. Cerium is used as a component and decolorizer of glass and ceramics, in carbon arc lamps, as a catalyst, and as a polishing compound. It also is used in the walls of self-cleaning ovens (where it prevents cooking residue from collecting) and in certain nuclear applications.

Biological Benefits

Cerium has no known biological use. It is known to stimulate the metabolism.

Role in Life Processes

No known benefit to life processes in plants and animals.

Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.00006%


Cerium chiefly is obtained from cerium-rich monazite and bastnasite. It also is found in allanite, cerite, samarskite and the titanium mineral perovskite. It is mined in the USA, China, Russia, Australia, and India.