"We need to do this by incorporating Selenium into the protein complex to get the crystal structure of the complex"
My boss was telling me one of the three strategy to incorporate metal into the complex so that we could get a better crystal structure.
"Oh no, not selenium again" I thought. Back in school, I spent two years working in a lab that was dealing with Arsenic and Selenium on daily bases and I cannot say I enjoyed the smell and exposure. I was young and naive.....all I wanted was getting my degree back then.
Since it has been some years from my last encounter with selenium, I decided to do some toxicity check on it. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) of Seleno-L-Methionine did not say too much, only the obvious "touching, breathing, and swallowing are not good for you" warnings.
What I am concerning the most is the smell. I am not sure if the smell of Seleno-L-Methionine could be considered as "Fume"..... in the case of Hydrochloric acid, if you can smell it then you are breathing in the Hydrochloric acid.
The same goes for Beta-Mercaptoethanol and TEMED (Tetramethylethylenediamine). If you can smell it, you are practically inhaling the chemical.
Some seasoned scientists may tell me the amount that we are getting exposed is so small that it cannot harm.... or is it? Just because nobody has not proven that it is not dangerous yet does not mean it is not!!!