Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: May 1, 2005
Publication Date: January 1, 2006
Citation: Nielsen, F.H. 2006. Nickel. In: Klasing, K.C., editor. Mineral Tolerance of Animals. 2nd Revised Edition. Washington DC; National Academies Press. p. 276-283. Technical Abstract: Nickel is a transition element that exhibits a mixture of ferrous and nonferrous metal properties. Metallic nickel is lustrous silver-white, malleable, and resistant to corrosion (Smialowicz, 1998). Nickel is both siderophilic (i.e., associates with iron) and chalcophilic (i.e., associates with sulfur) and constitutes 0.008% of the earth's crust, which makes it the 24th element in order of natural abundance. It is mostly mined as the laterites nickeliferous limonite [(Fe,Ni)O(OH)] and garnierite (a hydrous nickel silicate), or the magmatic sulfide pentiandite ([(Ni,Fe)9S8]. In the Western world, about 65% of the nickel is used for making stainless steel and 12% for making superalloys. The remaining usage is divided among alloy steels, rechargeable batteries, catalysts and other chemicals, coinage, foundry products, and plating (U.S. Geological Survey, 2003). The principal commercial chemicals are NiCO3, NiCl2, NiO, and NiSO4. Nickel in compounds is usually divalent, but can exist in oxidation forms '1, 0, +1, +2, +3, and +4. The acetate, nitrate, sulfate, and halogen salts of nickel are water soluble, whereas the oxides, sulfides, carbonates, phosphate, and elemental forms of nickel are insoluble in water. In biological systems, Ni2+ predominates and coordinates with water or other soluble ligands (Sutherland and Costa, 2002). Apparent key biological ligands for nickel are proteins containing the amino acid histidine (Sarkar, 1984).