Biology and toxicology of tellurium explored by speciation analysis
Tellurium (Te) is widely used in industry because it has unique physicochemical properties. Although Te is a non-essential element in animals and plants, it is expected to be metabolized to organometallic compounds having a carbon–Te bond in living organisms exposed to inorganic Te compounds. Thus, the speciation and identification of tellurometabolites are expected to contribute to the depiction of the metabolic chart of Te. Speciation by elemental mass spectrometry and identification by molecular mass spectrometry coupled with separation techniques have significantly contributed to the discovery of tellurometabolites in animals and plants. The aim of this mini review is to present recent advances in the biology and toxicology of tellurium as revealed by speciation and identification by molecular mass spectrometry.