What is selenium?

Selenium is a semi-metal in group 16 and closely related to sulfur. It is finely distributed throughout the earth and generally found in ores containing sulfides. Copper ores contain between 0 and 20 parts per million of selenium. During copper processing, selenium takes the same path as the precious metals and is then extracted from the anode slimes as raw selenium. Annual production is almost entirely as the by-product of copper production. Although selenium is an essential trace element our bodies could not survive without, it is highly toxic in higher doses. Selenium is an important trace element naturally found in soil, in water, and in some foods.

Industrial applications for selenium

From coloring and decolorizing glass to coating digital x-ray detectors: Selenium is used in a large number and wide variety of industrial applications. In the solar industry, selenium is a component of CIS/CIGS thin-film solar cells. CIGS stands for copper (Cu), indium (In), gallium (Ga), and selenium (Se). Making these solar cells requires less semi-conductor material and energy than conventional solar cells. This lowers manufacturing costs and improves the environmental balance.

Selenium and the body: protecting the cells

Selenium is an essential trace element, and demand from the pharmaceutical and food industries is rising. Selenium is contained in over 20 proteins in the body and plays an important role in glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px), protecting the cells from oxidative damage. This means selenium helps the body protect itself from free radicals. Free radicals are involved in aging processes in the cells. They are also one of the main suspects linked to the onset of cancer. So selenium contributes to reducing the oxidative stress of the cells in this context. Selenium also plays additional vital roles in the human body.

Selenium is a component of many proteins and plays a key role in iodothyronine deiodinase, an enzyme that activates the T4 thyroid hormone. Selenium is always added to baby food and is increasingly marketed as part of various dietary supplements

Selenium in animal feed: a vital trace element for a balanced diet

In modern animal husbandry, selenium is added to animal feed as a trace element since the natural selenium content of green fodder is too low. It has even become standard to add sodium selenite to feed for dairy cattle. RETORTE is an approved feed supplier and FAMI-QS certified. Our RETOSEL brand is characterized by the particularly high purity of our formula achieved via an optimized production process.