Johann Gahn of Sweden
Necessary for all life.
Manganese is a very brittle, hard, pinkish-gray metal. It is a reactive metal, chemically active with water, air and most acids. It hardens and strengthens steel when alloyed with it. It also is used in alloys with aluminum, copper and antimony to create highly ferromagnetic compounds, although none of these elements are naturally ferromagnetic. It is used in black paints and to color glass purple. Manganese is responsible for the purple color in amethyst. Compounds of manganese are used in feed supplements and fertilizers.
Manganese is a critical trace element. Manganese seems to lend a pliant, flexible quality to animal bone. A manganese deficiency in bone leads to brittle, easily broken bones. Manganese also activates several important enzymes, assists in the functioning of metabolism, and aids in the utilization of Vitamin B1. A manganese deficiency can lead to infertility in mammals.
Role in Life Processes
Critical for life processes in plants and animals.
Percentage Amount in the Human Body: 0.00002%
Manganese is present in many minerals. It is obtained from the minerals pyrolusite (alpha-manganese dioxide) and romanechite. Other manganese-bearing minerals include bixbyite, manganite, rhodochrosite (manganese carbonate) and rhodonite. It is mined in Gabon, South Africa, Australia, and Brazil. Additionally, manganese-rich nodules dot the ocean floors. These nodules are nearly 25 % pure manganese. However, their location on the ocean floor makes them currently uneconomical to collect. One of the largest known rhodochrosite gemstones was found in Colorado.