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Periodic Table/ Elements toxic to one another?

  1. May 11, 2012 #1
    So Arsenic is poisonous to Oxygen based life forms (Humans). What would be poisonous to a Sulfur based life form (if they exsisted)?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2012 #2


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    I believe oxygen would be poisonous. Some anaerobic bacteria have a sulfur based metabolism. Perhaps too much Mo (or anything that strongly binds with sulfur relative to the metabolic compounds) would be toxic.

    There are metallotolerant bacteria, which can tolerate relatively high levels of As and other heavy metals.

    Toxicity is a term with respect to life forms. Elements are not toxic to one another.
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
  4. May 11, 2012 #3
    The reason arsenic is poisonous isn't because we breath oxygen; it's because we have use Phosphorous in our DNA and several other biochemical reactions.

    If you look on the periodic table, Arsenic is right below Phosphorous in Group V A. Dmitri Mendeleev, a Russian physicist in the 1800s, proved that elements in the same groups have similar chemical properties. Arsenic is so similar to Phosphorous that arsenic can bind to several enzymes that catalyze reactions of phosphorous-containing compounds in our body and inhibit them, leading to a loss of function and eventual cell death.
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