The Occurrence and Metabolism of Lanthanides

  • C. H. Evans
Part of the Biochemistry of the Elements book series (BOTE, volume 8)


At first sight, it might seem strange to spend a chapter discussing the metabolism of substances with no known metabolic role. Nevertheless, there exists an extensive literature on lanthanide metabolism. Studies of this subject have been largely prompted by toxicological considerations (Chapter 8), with particular concern about human exposure to radioactive lanthanides formed as a result of nuclear reactions. For obvious reasons, investigations with mammals have predominated, although the possible passage of radioactive lanthanides through the food chain has led to the inclusion of other organisms in such studies. In areas where the ambient concentration of lanthanides in the soil is high, their assimilation is being monitored to obtain an indication of the likely distribution of the actinides, elements whose metabolic behavior shows similarities to that of the lanthanides (Durbin, 1962; Eisenbud et al., 1984). An additional motive for studying lanthanide metabolism has been medical (Chapter 9). Possible medical applications of the lanthanides have been sought for over a century, a process which has necessarily entailed consideration of their metabolism.


Rare Earth Japanese Quail Atomic Energy Commission Heavy Lanthanide Standard Reference Material 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. H. Evans
    • 1
  1. 1.The Ferguson LaboratoryUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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