Osmium has no known biological function. Osmium tetroxide is commonly used as a fixative to prepare biological specimens for electron microscopy, but little information has been published on interactions of osmium with living microorganisms. Woolfolk and Whiteley (1962) reported that extracts of Micrococcus lactilyticus reduced osmium tetroxide to osmate (OsO4-) and reduced osmium dioxide and osmium(III) chloride to osmium metal. The authors also observed reduction of osmium tetroxide by extracts of Desulfovibrio desulfuricans.

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