Cobalt is a shiny grey-silvery transition metal with an atomic number 27 and atomic weight 58.93. Its oxidation states are +1 and +2.
Cobalt is found in fish, nuts, leafy vegetables, and cereal grains.
Chronic cobalt poisoning is rare and was formerly seen in chronic beer drinkers as cobalt chloride was added to beer to maintain a nice foamy head. Sequelae of toxicity include vomiting, sensorineural deafness, tinnitus and cardiomyopathy 5,6.
- vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is a complex structure and central to it is a cobalt ion within a corrin ring. Vitamin B12 is vital for the normal functioning of every cell in the human body, being key to DNA synthesis.
- cobalt-57 is employed as a flood source to perform QA on gamma cameras in nuclear medicine departments
- cobalt-60 is used in radiotherapy (e.g. Gamma Knife®)
History and etymology
- Georg Brandt discovered cobalt in 1739 4. It was a difficult metal to extract from its ore and miners put this down to goblins who had cast evil magic upon the rock. The German word for goblin, Kobbold, was subsequently adopted for this new element. Interestingly cobalt was the first metal to be discovered that was not known to the ancients.
- Bertrand and Macheboeuf first discovered cobalt in animal cells in 1925, this was later corroborated by more sophisticated spectrographic techniques.
- 1. Dr Ben Still. The Secret Life of the Periodic Table. (2016) ISBN: 9781844039104
- 2. Bhattacharya PT, Misra SR, Hussain M. Nutritional Aspects of Essential Trace Elements in Oral Health and Disease: An Extensive Review. (2016) Scientifica. 2016: 5464373. doi:10.1155/2016/5464373 - Pubmed
- 3. Catalani S, Rizzetti MC, Padovani A, Apostoli P. Neurotoxicity of cobalt. (2012) Human & experimental toxicology. 31 (5): 421-37. doi:10.1177/0960327111414280 - Pubmed
- 4. Robert E. Krebs. The History and Use of Our Earth's Chemical Elements. (2006) ISBN: 9780313334382
- 5. William Alexander Newman Dorland. Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. (2018) ISBN: 9781416023647
- 6. Maisch B. Alcoholic cardiomyopathy : The result of dosage and individual predisposition. (2016) Herz. 41 (6): 484-93. doi:10.1007/s00059-016-4469-6 - Pubmed
Related Radiopaedia articles
- tumor markers
- basic organic elements
- essential bulk elements
- essential trace elements
- non-essential elements
- fat-soluble vitamins
- vitamin B1 (thiamine)
- vitamin B2 (riboflavin)
- vitamin B3 (niacin)
- vitamin B5
- vitamin B6
- vitamin B7 (biotin)
- vitamin B9 (folate/folic acid)
- vitamin B12
- vitamin C
- B vitamins