Understanding selenium biogeochemistry in engineered ecosystems: Transformation and analytical methods
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Selenium is used extensively in many industries, and it is necessary for human nutrition. On the other hand, it is also toxic at slightly elevated concentrations. With the advent of industrialisation, selenium concentrations in the environment due to anthropogenic activities have increased. Treatment of selenium-laden wastewaters and bioremediation are of increasing importance for counteracting contamination. Developing an effective treatment process requires the identification of all the selenium chemical species and their concentrations in engineered settings. This chapter collates the available techniques for identifying and quantifying various selenium species in gas, liquid, and solid phases, including X-ray absorption spectroscopy, electron microscopy, and liquid/gas chromatography. This chapter also throws light on isotopic fractionation and sequential extraction methods used to study the behaviour of selenium. Prior to the discussion of analytical methods, this chapter discusses selenium mineralogy and biochemistry. Finally, the chapter concludes by discussing potential future analytical techniques that will further improve our understanding of selenium biogeochemistry in engineered bioprocesses.