About the Biochemical Periodic Tables
The EAWAG-BBD biochemical periodic tables provide an overview of microbial interactions with essential and
nonessential chemical elements. Information
on individual elements is accessible through two representations
of the periodic table of the elements: the traditional periodic table
and the spiral periodic table.
The spiral table is a more
biologically relevant representation of the chemical elements, as it places hydrogen in a
central position clustered with the other primary components of biological molecules (carbon,
nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur). The content accessed through the traditional and
spiral tables is identical.
Individual element pages, which can be accessed by clicking element
symbols in the periodic tables, contain a summary of known microbial
interactions with the selected element based on reports published in scholarly journals. The
purpose of the summaries is to describe all known types
of interactions of a particular element with microorganisms (bacteria, archaea, fungi, and in some cases algae or
other microscopic eukaryotes), but not to provide a comprehensive review of each type of interaction. In
addition to biological function, described interactions with elements may also include bioreduction, bioalkylation, bioprecipitation,
bioaccumulation/biosorption, and enzyme binding/activation. Some pages also contain links to additional information
on topics such as toxicity or geocycling of the element.
How to Use The Biochemical Periodic Tables
The traditional periodic table can be accessed from the
"Biochemical Periodic Tables" link on the
EAWAG-BBD home page
. The spiral periodic table can be reached by a "Spiral Table" link at the bottom of that page.
Both can also be reached by using the following URL's: http://umbbd.ethz.ch/periodic/index.html
To view individual element pages, click on an
element's symbol in either of the periodic tables.
Individual element pages can also be accessed by clicking on Links
at the bottom of either periodic table,
and then clicking on the name of an element in the list. The "Links" page also lists links to web
pages outside the EAWAG-BBD server that are included in individual element pages,
with the exception of links to WebElements
, which are considered standard and are not listed here.
Each individual element page contains a link (the "Chemical Properties" bar to the left of the element symbol)
to information compiled in WebElements on
chemical and physical properties of the element. If metabolism of compounds containing an element (or
biotransformation of an element) has been described in the EAWAG-BBD, a link (the "Compounds in the EAWAG-BBD" bar to the right of the element symbol) is provided to the list
of compounds contained in the database. Sources of information used to compile the summary of microbial interactions with the
element are cited in the text and are linked to abstracts indexed in PubMed when available. Each element page
also includes a link to a dynamic search of PubMed for microbial
interactions with that element. Run the dynamic search by clicking "Search" under "For More Information". Updates to the
biochemical periodic tables are announced monthly in
conjunction with other EAWAG-BBD updates. The list of updates is emailed to EAWAG-BBD subscribers and can also be
viewed by clicking What's New at the left of the EAWAG-BBD home page and at the top
and bottom of associated pages.
How Is Information Compiled for the EAWAG-BBD Biochemical Periodic Tables?
References used to summarize microbial interactions with elements are obtained through searches of articles indexed in online
databases such as PubMed and Chemical Abstracts. Citations for articles referenced in the summary that are not indexed online are
listed under "For
more information". Because the
summaries in individual element pages are not intended to be exhaustive overviews, review articles are cited when available.
Attempts are made to thoroughly search for information on all potential types of interactions with
microorganisms, but we recognize that we may miss important references. We appreciate being informed of
any inaccuracies or omissions in the element pages. Contact Us with any
comments or suggestions.
Format of an Element Page
Here is an exerpt from an element page, with 10 numbered and annotated
4. Tin is toxic to humans
in high doses (ToxFAQs: Tin).
Organotin compounds such as tributyltin and triphenyltin are used as agricultural
pesticides and marine biocides. Microbial degradation and accumulation of tributyltin compounds has been studied extensively
(reviewed by Gadd, 2000).
The biological production of methylated tin species is well documented, and Saccharomyces cerevisiae was the first
organism shown to produce methyltin compounds in pure culture (Ashby and Craig, 1987).
5. For more information:
Medline for tin metabolism AND bacteria
Ashby J, Craig PJ. Biomethylation of tin (II) complexes in the presence of pure strains of Saccharomyces
Appl Organometal Chem. 1987;1:275-9.
6. [Traditional Table]
[EAWAG-BBD Main Page]
7. Page Author(s): Steve Toeniskoetter, Jennifer Dommer, Tony Dodge
8. December 17, 2003
9. © 2014, EAWAG.
All rights reserved.
A brief annotation of each of these sections:
- Element symbol and name.
- Links to information on chemical and physical properties of the element in WebElements.
- Links to list of compounds in the EAWAG-BBD containing the element.
- Description of biological function or other interactions of element with microorganisms. Includes
links to references indexed in PubMed and to other web pages containing relevant information.
- Clicking "Search" takes user to a dynamic search of PubMed for information on
bacterial metabolism involving the featured
element. Also includes citations for articles cited above in the summary that are not indexed in PubMed.
- Links to the traditional and spiral periodic tables and to the EAWAG-BBD home page.
- The names of the page author(s), earliest author first.
- Date Last Modified, and a link to a contact page. Questions sent from there will be directed to the
person best able to answer them.
- © notice.
- Page URL.
You can examine the complete element page from which this example was
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