Considered as one of the most abundant elements in our body, magnesium is an alkaline earth metal that plays an essential role in the functioning of biological polyphosphate compounds such as DNA, ATP and RNA. This element is also important to plant growth because it is the chlorophyll’s center. Aside from these, the element has other medical, agricultural and industrial uses. To know more about this element, it is best to start with the history of the discovery of magnesium.
Who discovered magnesium? Based on records, the metal was extracted and discovered in 1808 in England by Sir Humphry Davy. He extracted the element from the mixture of mercury oxide and magnesia with the use of electrolysis. Davy named the element magnium, however, it was later on called magnesium by other scientists. Even if Davy was credited for the discovery of the alkaline earth metal, Epsom salt, a compound form of the element was already used by a farmer in the country to heal rashes as well as scratches.
Additional Information and Other Important Details
The chemical element has various sources. People can get magnesium from ores and seawater. When it comes to the uses, magnesium is very essential to the functioning of at least 300 enzymes in human body. In addition, the element is an important component of our daily diet. A person who is deficient in magnesium can suffer from various illnesses like osteoporosis and asthma.
In order to treat magnesium deficiency symptoms, a patient should eat vegetables and fruits that are rich in this element. Examples of fruits and vegetables that have high magnesium content are cocoa tea, spinach, nuts and spices. However, it is important to avoid excessive intake of this element because it can lead to diseases such as renal failure.
In terms of industrial applications, the element is very useful in the production of flashlight photography, fireworks sparklers, pyrotechnics and incendiary bombs. Additionally, various compound forms of the element are important to eliminate sulfur from steel and iron. Aside from this, it is essential to enhance the welding, fabrication and mechanical properties of aluminum
When it comes to medicinal uses, some compounds of the element are also used as antiseptics. In addition, the element is also useful for sedating patients. Magnesium carbonate, a popular compound of the alkaline earth metal, is essential to strengthen or to enhance athletes’ grips on things. Finally, the metal is used for the production of paper as well as textiles.