Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Ivan S. Palmer


Selenium, atomic number 34, resembles sulfur in many of its chemical properties and occurs in inorganic form as H2Se, H2Se203, H2Se03, and H2Se04 which are the analogues of H2S, H2S203, H2S03, and H2S04 respectively. In contrast to sulfur oxides, the most stable oxide of selenium is Se02 rather than Se03. Selenium dioxide is a solid that readily reacts with water to form H2Se03 and is easily reduced to elemental selenium. Besides inorganic forms, numerous organic selenium compounds are known. Organoselenium compounds, in general, are less stable and more reactive than the corresponding sulfur analogues and these properties may account for the toxicity of selenium when it is incorporated in place of sulfur in cellular constituents. Extensive investigations in connection with a cattle ailment known as “alkali disease", eventually showed it to be connected with the selenium content of the soil. Research starting in the 1930's demonstrated that certain plants were capable of incorporating and accumulating selenium, and that these plants were toxic to animals. Since these discoveries, many efforts have been made to find suitable means of control and protection against selenium toxicity. In 1938, Moxon discovered the first protective factor; demonstrating the ability of arsenic to protect against selenium toxicity. From this original observation, a wealth of information has been generated including the demonstration that arsenic exerts its effect by increasing the biliary excretion of selenium. To date, the form of selenium compounds in bile has not been characterized. The studies reported here are an attempt to investigate more thoroughly the forms of selenium compounds excreted into bile. Since preliminary studies indicated the possibility of selenium excretion into bile associated with protein, the study concentrated in this area. Other compounds such as phospholipids, lipids, cholesterol, and bile salts were also investigated. Finally, smaller metabolites, including selenoamino acids and glutathione were studied for their possible association with selenium.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Organoselenium compounds



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


No Copyright - United State