Next Article in Journal
Anion Channel Inhibitor NPPB-Inhibited Fluoride Accumulation in Tea Plant (Camellia sinensis) Is Related to the Regulation of Ca2+, CaM and Depolarization of Plasma Membrane Potential
Next Article in Special Issue
Earthworm Lumbricus rubellus MT-2: Metal Binding and Protein Folding of a True Cadmium-MT
Previous Article in Journal
Porcine Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells Retain Their Stem Cell Characteristics and Cell Activities While Enhancing the Expression of Liver-Specific Genes after Acute Liver Failure
Previous Article in Special Issue
Does Variation of the Inter-Domain Linker Sequence Modulate the Metal Binding Behaviour of Helix pomatia Cd-Metallothionein?
Article Menu
Issue 1 (January) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessReview
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17(1), 66;

The Metals in the Biological Periodic System of the Elements: Concepts and Conjectures

London Iron Metabolism Group, Division of Diabetes and Nutritional Sciences and Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences and Medicine, King’s College London, 150 Stamford St., London SE1 9NH, UK
Academic Editor: Reinhard Dallinger
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 21 December 2015 / Accepted: 22 December 2015 / Published: 5 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Metal Metabolism in Animals)
Full-Text   |   PDF [906 KB, uploaded 26 January 2016]   |  


A significant number of chemical elements are either essential for life with known functions, or present in organisms with poorly defined functional outcomes. We do not know all the essential elements with certainty and we know even less about the functions of apparently non-essential elements. In this article, I discuss a basis for a biological periodic system of the elements and that biochemistry should include the elements that are traditionally part of inorganic chemistry and not only those that are in the purview of organic chemistry. A biological periodic system of the elements needs to specify what “essential” means and to which biological species it refers. It represents a snapshot of our present knowledge and is expected to undergo further modifications in the future. An integrated approach of biometal sciences called metallomics is required to understand the interactions of metal ions, the biological functions that their chemical structures acquire in the biological system, and how their usage is fine-tuned in biological species and in populations of species with genetic variations (the variome). View Full-Text
Keywords: essential metals; non-essential metals; periodic system of the elements; metallomics essential metals; non-essential metals; periodic system of the elements; metallomics

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Maret, W. The Metals in the Biological Periodic System of the Elements: Concepts and Conjectures. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2016, 17, 66.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Int. J. Mol. Sci. EISSN 1422-0067 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top