The Bioelements or biogenic elements are chemical elements forming part of living beings.


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  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Definition
  • 3 Types of bioelements
    • 1 Primary bioelements
    • 2 Secondary bioelements
  • 4 Classification of Bioelements
    • 1 Major bioelements
    • 2 Trace bioelements
    • 3 Ultra-trace bioelements
  • 5 Sources


All living beings are constituted, qualitatively and quantitatively, by the same chemical elements. Of the approximately 100 chemical elements that exist in nature , about 70 are found in living things, although not all are essential or common to all of them. Of these elements, only about 22 are found in all with a certain abundance and fulfill a certain function. The subject live presents characteristics and different properties to those of inert material. These characteristics and properties find their origin in the atoms that make up living matter. The chemical elements that are part of living matter are called Bioelements, which, in living beings, form biomolecules.


Bioelements or biogenic elements are the chemical elements present in living beings. They can appear isolated or forming molecules.

Types of bioelements

According to their intervention in the constitution of biomolecules, bioelements are classified into primary and secondary

Primary bioelements

They appear in an average proportion of 96% in living matter, and are carbon , oxygen , hydrogen , nitrogen , phosphorus and sulfur , essential elements to form organic biomolecules (carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids. These elements bring together a series of properties that make them suitable for life :

  • They form very stable covalent bonds between them, sharing pairs of electrons. Carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen can form double or triple bonds.
  • They facilitate the adaptation of living beings to the Earth’s gravitational field , since they are the lightest elements in nature.

Secondary bioelements

Secondary bioelements are found to a lesser extent in all living beings, in ionic form, in a proportion of 4.5%. They are classified into two groups: the indispensable and the variable.

  • Essential secondary bioelements. They are present in all living things. The most abundant: Calcium (Ca), Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Magnesium (Mg), the rest: Chlorine (Cl), Iron (Fe), Iodine (I).
  • Variable secondary bioelements (trace elements). They are present in some living beings: Boron (B), Bromine (Br), Copper (Cu), Fluorine (F), Manganese (Mn), Silicon (Si).

Classification of Bioelements

Bioelements are also classified according to their abundance into majority, trace and ultra-trace:

Major bioelements

They are presented in amounts greater than 0.1% of the body’s weight . Oxygen (O), Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), Nitrogen (N), Calcium (Ca), Phosphorus (P), Sulfur (S), Chlorine (Cl) and Sodium (Na).

Trace bioelements

They are present in a proportion comprised between 0.1% and 0.0001% of the weight of a living being. Others include silicon (Si), magnesium (Mg), and copper (Cu).

Ultra-trace bioelements

They are presented in amounts less than 0.0001%, for example iodine (I), manganese (Mn) or cobalt (Co). The trace elements and ultra-cup are usually called as a whole, trace elements, since the Greek prefix “oligo-” means “little”, to denote their scarce presence in living beings. 60 trace elements have been isolated, but of them only 14 are considered common in almost all living things.


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