Trace elements history

From the 12th century to bolus invention

Since the 12th century, trace elements are central in numerous worldwide researches. Such as the observatories previously described, these studies relate to soils, crops and animals. In the same manner as what has been described for France, the main observatories relate to : soils or animals. The timelines below tell the historical findings made around the world and over centuries.

1265 ITALY

Marco Polo describes clinical signs of a Selenium poisoning in Chinese herds

1680 UNITED-KINGDOM

Sydenham treats animals having anaemia with iron dust

1747 ITALY

Menghini brings to light presence of Iron in the blood

1811 to 1825 FRANCE / SWIZERLAND

Courtois, Coindet and Boussingault discover Iodine and its role in goitres treatment

1817 SWIZERLAND

For the first time, Berzelius isolates Selenium

1850 to 1854 FRANCE

Chatin publishes the first studies done on Iodine deficiencies in cattle feed

1859 UNITED-KINGDOM

Lawes and Gilbert publish the first data on the mineral composition of livestock

1869 FRANCE

Raulin discovers the essential role of Zinc in the functioning of Aspergillus niger

1893 GERMANY

Von Bunge and Adberhalden show that calves fed with milk have Iron deficiencies

1919 UNITED STATES

Kendall isolates and names the thyroxine, and shows that the hormone is composed of 65% of Iodine

1920 FRANCE / UNITED STATES

Bertrand and Mc Hargue show the importance and the function of some minerals

1922 FRANCE

Bertrand and Berzon show that Zinc is essential to the growth of the hair

1928 to 1933 GERMANY

Warburg define the role of Iron in the porphyrin ring of respiratory enzymes

1931 UNITED STATES

Neal, Becker and Shealy identified Copper as being an essential element for ruminants

1931 to 1933 UNITED STATES

Kemerer and Mc Collum show that a deficiency in Manganese is responsible for tetany

1931 - 1933 THE NETHERLANDS

Sjollema bring in light a link between Copper deficiencies and livestock disorders

1935 UNITED STATES

Franke and Potter show that Selenium in forages is responsible for alkali disease in livestock

1935 AUSTRALIA

Underwood and Filmer, and Marston and Lines, show that the severe malnutrition syndrome in sheep comes from a Cobalt deficiency

1936 UNITED STATES

Wilgus, Norris and Heuser report that a deficiency in Manganese leads to serious diseases in the chicks

1937 UNITED STATES

Becker et al. show that the disease called “salt sick” is in reality due to a Cobalt, Copper and Iron deficiency in pastures

1937 AUTRALIA

Bennet and Chapman show that the ataxia in new born sheep is due to a Copper deficiency in mothers during gestation

1938 UNITED-KINGDOM

Ferguson, Lewis and Watson show that Molybdenum, at a toxic dose, leads to severe diarrhoea in cattle

1938 - 1942 HUNGARIA

Hevesy et al. start to use radioactive isotopes in order to study metabolisms of minerals

1940 UNITED-KINGDOM

Keilin and Mann identify Zinc as being a constituent of the carbonic anhydrase

1948 UNITED STATES

Rickes et al., and Smith, show that Cobalt is a constituent of the Vitamin B12

1950 : 13 minerals have already been identified:

Ca, P, K, Na, Cl, S and Mg (macro minerals) and Fe, I, Cu, Mn, Zn and Co.

1950 UNITED STATES

Oldfield is the first to show that Selenium is essential in animal but that soils in Oregon are deficient in this trace element

1950 - 1954 AUTRALIA

Dick explains relations between Copper, Molybdenum and sulphates in ruminants

1953 UNITED STATES

Richert and Westerfield isolate Molybdenum from a metalloenzyme

1955 UNITED STATES

Tucker and Salmon show that a Zinc deficiency is responsible for parakeratosis, a severe skin disease

1957 GERMANY

Schwartz and Foltz show that Selenium is an essential nutrient, not only toxic

1959 UNITED STATES

Muth show that the White Muscles disease in calf is linked to a supply in Selenium. And Remmert, Mc Lean, Thompson, Claxton et al. show that a supplementation in Selenium allows to prevent from this disease

1959 GERMANY

Schwartz and Mertz show that Chromium is essential in glucose metabolism

1960 AUSTRALIA / NEW-ZEALAND

Description of Selenium involvement in the occurrence of heart and abnormality of muscle tissue diseases

1960 UNITED STATES

Oldfield show that a supply in Selenium enhances growth of livestock

1968 UNITED-KINGDOM

Andrews show that a supply in Selenium improves reproduction performances in ruminants

1969 AUSTRALIA

Kuchel and Buckley invent the bolus (“heavy pellet”) as a type of supplementation for Selenium

History of trace elements discovery 1910 – 1980 (McDowell, 2003)