Manganese is a chemical element with the atomic number 25 in the periodic table. It’s the fifth most abundant metal that occurs in Earth’s crust. A member of the transition metals family of elements, manganese has four allotropic forms which make it an extremely versatile element. Its most stable oxidation states are +2, +6, and +7. This chemical is mostly obtained from the manganese dioxide (MnO2) compound, i.e. the mineral ore labeled as pyrolusite.
Manganese participates in the highly significant photosynthesis of the plants, which produces the oxygen we breathe in the atmosphere. As a trace element, this mineral also takes part in the enzyme processes in humans and animals. Additionally, it plays a significant role in the development of bones and the regulation of cellular mechanisms and metabolic processes.
Chemical and Physical Properties of Manganese
The symbol in the periodic table of elements: Mn
Atomic number: 25
Atomic weight (mass): 54.938 g.mol-1
Group number: 7 (Transition metal)
Period: 4 (d-block)
Color: A silvery-gray metal with a purple hue
Physical state: Solid at room temperature
Half-life: From less than 105 nanoseconds to 3.7 million years
Electronegativity according to Pauling: 1.5
Density: 7.3 g.cm-3 at 20°C
Melting point: 1246°C, 2275°F, 1519 K
Boiling point: 2061°C, 3742°F, 2334 K
Van der Waals radius: 0.126 nm
Ionic radius: 0.08 nm (+2) ; 0.046 nm (+7)
Most characteristic isotope: 55Mn
Electronic shell: [Ar] 3d54s2
The energy of the first ionization: 716 kJ.mol-1
The energy of the second ionization: 1489 kJ.mol-1
Discovery date: In 1774 by Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Johan Gottlieb Gahn
With the periodic table symbol Mn, atomic number 25, atomic mass of 54.938 g.mol-1, and electron configuration [Ar] 3d54s2, manganese is a very brittle and hard silvery-gray metal. It reaches its boiling point at 2061°C, 3742°F, 2334 K, while the melting point is achieved at 1246°C, 2275°F, 1519 K.
This member of the transition metals family of elements in the periodic table has an electronegativity of 1.5 according to Pauling, whereas the atomic radius according to van der Waals is 0.126 nm.
Manganese occurs in four allotropic forms. Among them, the alpha phase(σ) is the most stable form of element 25. This complex cubic structure of Mn exists from room temperature to -725°C. The Beta(β) form of manganese occurs between 725 -1095°C. The tetragonal gamma (γ) form of this chemical element forms in temperature between 1095-1135°C, while the delta (∆) form of manganese exists only above the temperature of 1134 -1245°C.
Both the chemical and physical properties of manganese resemble the respective properties of iron, except manganese metal is harder and more brittle as a substance than iron. Also, the metal form of manganese is susceptible to corrosion when exposed to moist air, while it oxidizes superficially when the air is dry. Manganese in oxidation state +7 is powerfully oxidizing, and similarly to titanium, vanadium, and chromium, it corresponds to the total number of 3d and 4s electrons.
How Was Manganese Discovered?
Even since ancient times, the black ore pyrolusite (manganese dioxide, MnO2) was familiar to the people. The evidence for this claim originates from around 30,000 years ago when the prehistoric cave painters of the Lascaux region of France have been using black manganese dioxide to express their thoughts by drawing on the rock walls of the caves.
In ancient Rome and Egypt, the glass-blowers were using this mineral to produce clear and transparent glass, removing the green hue by adding some minerals containing manganese(IV) oxide to the mixture.
The Serendipitous Finding of Johann Heinrich Pott (1692 – 1777)
Surely, the ancient civilization did not know about manganese oxide. This substance was not recognized as a chemical until 1740 when the German chemist Johann Heinrich Pott observed a new earth metal in the composition of the pyrolusite mineral. Namely, he tried to investigate the existence of iron in the compound.
By exposing a fusion of caustic potash (potassium hydroxide) with pyrolusite to air, this professor of chemistry in the Collegium medicochirurgicum in Berlin, Germany, managed to produce one of the strongest oxidizing agents – potassium permanganate (KMnO4), nowadays widely used in medicine.
The result of Pott’s experiment which showed no iron in the compound triggered further interest in the new substance in his fellow chemists, but no one was able to isolate the pure metal form of manganese from the pyrolusite.
The Successful Discovery of Carl Wilhelm Scheele and Johan Gottlieb Gahn
In 1774, the discoverer of both chlorine, molybdenum, barium, and oxygen, Carl Wilhelm Scheele (1742 – 1786) teamed with his Swedish colleague Johan Gottlieb Gahn (1745 – 1818) to use all their experience for successful isolation of the new dark-colored element from the mineral ore.
By using charcoal as the reducing agent exposed to an increased temperature, these two chemists eventually achieved their revolutionary goal. The result of their chemical trial was a white, hard, and brittle manganese metal, recognized as a new chemical element.
How Did Manganese Get Its Name?
The first mineral ores that have been found in the region of Magnesia, Greece, contained both magnesium and manganese. They were commonly known under the name magnesia. In the 1600s, the magnesium minerals were distinguished with the name “magnesia alba” (or white magnesia), while the dark manganese oxides were given the name “magnesia nigra” (or black magnesia).
The presently used name of the element comes from the Latin word “magnes”, which means magnet. Even though manganese does not possess any magnetic qualities in its pure elemental form, the element got this name after its compounds which have been used in glass-making. These compounds were called “magnes” in Latin.
Where Can You Find Manganese?
This chemical element is widely distributed in Earth’s crust. It’s so common that it can be found almost everywhere on our Planet – in every plant, animal, or human being; in the soil or the ocean waters. It’s one of the iron groups of elements that are believed to have been produced by supernova explosions of the aged stars in the Universe.
It typically occurs as a part of the mineral ores and the minerals pyrolusite (alpha-manganese dioxide (MnO2)), romanechite, bixbyite, manganite, rhodochrosite (manganese carbonate), rhodonite, and wad. Gabon, South Africa, Australia, and Brazil are the locations of the biggest manganese ore mines in the world.
Manganese also occurs in the hard, ovoid, or spherically formed compact masses of matter that have been created by the precipitation of mineral cement on the ocean floor.
These manganese-rich concretions are also referred to as polymetallic nodules, because they contain other metals in their composition, such as iron, silicon, and aluminum. It’s estimated that there are larger quantities of manganese in these ocean nodules than in the mineral ores.
This substance is produced by the electrolysis process directly from the ore, but it can also be synthetically prepared by decomposition of manganous nitrate or by electrolysis of an aqueous solution of manganese sulfate.
Manganese in Everyday Life
This chemical element has a wide application in almost all spheres of our living, especially in the steel industry and medicine:
- Due to its hardness, manganese metal is mostly used in alloys with other metals, such as steel, iron, silicon, and aluminum. The ferromanganese, silico-manganese alloys, and the alloys of steel and manganese are the most frequently used alloys in commercial industries, especially by the stainless steel industry.
- In its pure elemental form, manganese is applied in the preparation of the non-ferrous copper, aluminum, magnesium, and nickel alloys, as well as in the production of high-purity chemicals.
- Manganese is used as a coloring agent in the manufacturing of black paints, and to give purple color to the glass.
- Manganese(II) oxide or manganese monoxide (MnO) is applied in the production of manganese salts, as well as as a reagent in textile printing.
- Potassium Permanganate (KMnO4) is widely used in medicine as a part of the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections due to its strong antiseptic properties. This manganese compound can also be used as a disinfectant or water purifier.
- Manganese sulfate (MnSO4) has a practical application both as a fungicide and fertilizer, promoting plant growth especially of the citruses.
- The aluminum enriched with 1.5% manganese is used for the manufacturing of drinking cans. Here, manganese improves the corrosion resistance of the final product for which the alloy was used.
- The most significant manganese compound MnO2 is used in the production of dry-cell batteries, such as the zinc–carbon battery and the alkaline battery. The α-MnO2 form of manganese is also used as a cathode for lithium-ion batteries.
- Manganese(IV) oxide is used for the decolorization of glass with green color, stained by the iron impurities in the compound.
Manganese in Health and Disease
Manganese is one of the trace minerals of vital importance for the biological function and physiological development of all known living organisms. Having the role of a cofactor (supporter), it’s contained in the structure of many types of enzymes that participate in various metabolic and physiological processes in plants, animals, and people, such as manganese superoxide dismutase (Mn-SOD enzyme), arginase, and pyruvate carboxylase.
In the human body, this trace element is mainly concentrated in the bones, the liver, the kidneys, and the pancreas. It also functions as a neurotoxin when it’s accumulated in the tissues in larger amounts. The human body has a regulatory control mechanism that controls manganese absorption and excretion.
The Role of Manganese in the Human Body
This mineral supports the bone and cartilage formation of the skeletal system of the body and participates in several other vitally important processes, such as:
- The formation of the connective tissue;
- Bone formation;
- The increase of the mineral density of bones;
- It participates in the production of the sex hormones;
- Support of the calcium absorption;
- It plays a role in blood clotting and hemostasis in conjunction with vitamin K;
- Supports normal brain and nerve function;
- Protects the brain against free radicals;
- Regulation of the blood sugar levels;
- Utilization of Vitamin B1 by the body;
- Supports bone health especially in postmenopausal women;
- Reduction of the inflammatory processes in the body;
- Support of the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates;
- Participation in the production of the digestive enzymes;
- Magnesium aids nutrient absorption;
- It contributes to wound healing;
- Improves the premenstrual (PMS) symptoms;
- Support of the free radical defense systems;
- Strengthens the defenses of the immune system;
- Through the action of enzymes, manganese is involved in the metabolism of amino acids.
What Is Manganese Deficiency?
When there is a lack of manganese intake via food, levels of manganese in the body become very low. In this way, the cellular mechanisms responsible for the regulation of the metabolic processes in the body become damaged. This, again, may lead to severe damages to the body’s organs and systems.
Manganese deficiency may also trigger zinc toxicity, due to the close functional bond these two minerals share in the physiological processes of the human body. Also, decreased manganese absorption is frequently associated with iron-deficiency anemia. The individuals affected by this condition seem to absorb more manganese than healthy people.
What Are the Symptoms of Manganese Deficiency?
The lack of manganese in the body can result in the following symptoms or health disorders:
- Weak and brittle bones;
- Gastrointestinal problems;
- Low immunity defense of the body;
- Bone loss;
- Hormonal imbalance;
- Weak general health;
- Anemia (lack of nutrition in the blood);
- Chronic fatigue syndrome;
- Impaired reproductive abilities or infertility;
- Changes in appetite.
Low dietary manganese or low levels of manganese in blood have been related to several chronic illnesses, such as osteoporosis, diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, etc.
A vital trace element for optimal health, manganese can be found in various types of food that may serve as natural sources of manganese. We ingest about 4 milligrams a day of dietary manganese from foods rich in manganese content:
- Brown rice;
- Beet Greens;
- Pumpkin Seeds;
- Sesame Seeds;
- Sunflower Seeds;
Manganese supplements are typically administered to patients unable to meet their daily requirements of this trace element through diet. Dietary reference intakes or tolerable upper intake levels (ULs) of this essential nutrient have not been established.
For this reason, an estimated adequate intake (AI) is usually prescribed, based upon the experiences of healthy people. Manganese requirements are increased in pregnancy and lactation. The recommended dietary allowances (RDA) or the highest level of intake of this mineral should not exceed 11 mg per adult person. Manganese enriched infant formulas may result in hyperactivity or cognitive problems in children.
This essential mineral can be found in the following supplemental forms:
- Aminoate de Manganèse
- Ascorbate de Manganèse
- Chlorure de Manganèse
- Citrate de Manganèse
- Complexe Aspartate de Manganèse
- Dioxyde de Manganèse
- Gluconate de Manganèse
- Glycérophosphate de Manganèse
- Manganese Amino Acid Chelate
- Manganese Aminoate
- Manganese Ascorbate
- Manganese Aspartate Complex
- Manganese Chloride
- Manganese Chloridetetrahydrate
- Manganese Citrate
- Manganese Dioxide
- Manganese Gluconate
- Manganese Glycerophosphate
- Manganese Sulfate
- Manganese Sulfate Monohydrate
- Manganese Sulfate Tetrahydrate
- Manganeso, Manganum
- Monohydrate de Sulfate de Manganèse
- Sulfate de Manganèse.
Manganese sulfate manganese ascorbate and manganese gluconate amino acid chelates are the most common multivitamin supplements that contain manganese.
Important: Please note that this manganese fact sheet is for educational and informative purposes only. This list is not complete and many other drugs may interact with manganese, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, proton pump inhibitor (PPI) drugs, vitamins, and herbal products.
We would hereby like to strongly advise you to seek medical advice from a qualified healthcare provider or trained health professionals before treating any medical problems or adding manganese supplements to your diet. Please have in mind that high levels of manganese in the body may result in severe side effects and high toxicity.
The Role of Manganese in Neurodegenerative Diseases
Manganese activates the enzyme prolidase, which is responsible for making cells that form our skin. By stimulating the antioxidant mechanism of the cells, this mineral protects them from damage caused by aging or harmful lifestyle activities.
Having an anti-inflammatory property, manganese also contributes to the reduction of chronic diseases that affect the proper function of the cellular mechanisms, as well as lowers the possibilities of osteoporosis.
According to a study published in the journal Science Signaling, chronic exposure to high amounts of manganese can lead to manganese toxicity. High levels of manganese absorbed in the body’s tissues can result in a permanent neurological disorder with symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, including:
- Tremors of the extremities (mainly hands);
- Difficulty walking
- Facial muscle spasms
- Changes in gait and balance
- Enzyme disruption
- Memory loss
- Emotional instability
- Mood swings.
How Dangerous Is Manganese?
Manganese toxicity occurs upon inhalation or consumption of high manganese doses. Inhaling welding fumes and other fumes containing manganese is closely related to a syndrome referred to as manganism. It’s mainly an occupational disease that occurs due to manganese exposure and intoxication with high blood manganese levels.
According to a study conducted by M Aschner, and J. L. Aschner, inhalation of high manganese concentrations of metal dust can be more dangerous because the metal particles are transported directly to the brain before they can be processed in the liver. Due to this, the individuals affected by manganism typically experience inflammation of the lungs, acute bronchitis, and decreased lung function, as well as psychiatric symptoms (hallucinations, aggressiveness, irritability), etc.
As a result of the severe effects of manganese neurotoxicity, the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine has set a very conservative tolerable upper intake level (UL) for manganese.
While the drinking water may also contain small amounts of manganese, the occurrence of large concentrations of this metal in the water supply can be toxic and lead to adverse health effects, such as poor bone health.
Environmental Effects of Manganese
Manganese is an element that occurs naturally in the environment. However, consumerism and various industrial activities have given rise to the concentrations of manganese in the waters, soil, and air. Industrial wastewaters and the use of pesticides enriched with manganese can be particularly harmful to the plants growing in manganese contaminated soil.
Isotopes of Manganese
There are 25 radioactive isotopes of the element 25. The stable manganese-55 isotope among them represents the pure elemental form of this chemical element (25Mn). This is also the most abundant stable isotope of manganese. The primary decay mode before 55Mn is electron capture, while the primary mode after is beta decay.
Manganese has three other stable isotopes: magnesium-53 (with a half-life of 3.7 million years), magnesium-54 (with a half-life of 312.3 days), and magnesium-52 (with a half-life of 5.591 days).
|Nuclide||Z||N||Isotopic mass (Da)
[n 2][n 3]
[n 6][n 7]
|Natural abundance (mole fraction)|
|Excitation energy[n 7]||Normal proportion||Range of variation|
|46Mn||25||21||45.98672(12)#||37(3) ms||β+ (78%)||46Cr||(4+)|
|β+, p (22%)||45V|
|β+, α (<1%)||42Ti|
|β+, 2p (<1%)||44Ti|
|47Mn||25||22||46.97610(17)#||100(50) ms||β+ (96.6%)||47Cr||5/2−#|
|β+, p (3.4%)||46V|
|48Mn||25||23||47.96852(12)||158.1(22) ms||β+ (99.71%)||48Cr||4+|
|β+, p (.027%)||47V|
|β+, α (6×10−4%)||44Ti|
|54Mn||25||29||53.9403589(14)||312.03(3) d||EC 99.99%||54Cr||3+|
|62Mn||25||37||61.94843(24)||671(5) ms||β− (>99.9%)||62Fe||(3+)|
|β−, n (<.1%)||61Fe|
|64Mn||25||39||63.95425(29)||88.8(25) ms||β− (>99.9%)||64Fe||(1+)|
|β−, n (<.1%)||63Fe|
|65Mn||25||40||64.95634(58)||92(1) ms||β− (>99.9%)||65Fe||5/2−#|
|β−, n (<.1%)||64Fe|
|66Mn||25||41||65.96108(43)#||64.4(18) ms||β− (>99.9%)||66Fe|
|β−, n (<.1%)||65Fe|
List of Manganese Compounds
Manganese participates in various chemical forms but mostly occurs in a form of salts (sulfate and gluconate), and chelates (aspartate, fumarate, succinate). This chemical element is highly reactive with water, air, and most acids. It can adopt the oxidation states Mn2+, Mn3+, Mn4+ Mn6+, and Mn7+ in a compound.
When manganese is combined with aluminum, copper, and antimony, it creates highly ferromagnetic compounds that naturally do not possess ferromagnetic properties. Element 25 can be directly combined with boron, carbon, sulfur, silicon, or phosphorus, but not with hydrogen.
The common compounds of manganese are included in the list below:
- Manganese(II) Hydroxide
- Manganese(III) Sulfate
- Manganese(II) Sulfate Monohydrate
- Manganese(II) Chloride Tetrahydrate
- Manganese(II) Nitrite
- Manganese(IV) Oxide
- Manganese(II) Chlorate
- Manganese(IV) Chloride
- Manganese(III) Nitrate
- Manganese Chlorite
- Manganese(II) Chromate
- Manganese(III) Phosphate
- Manganese(II) Cyanide
- Manganese(II) Phosphate
- Manganese(IV) Carbonate
- Manganese(III) Sulfite
- Manganese(III) Chloride
- Manganese(IV) Sulfate
- Manganese(IV) Hydroxide
- Manganese(II) Perchlorate
- Manganese(III) Sulfide
- Manganese(II) Phosphide
- Manganese(III) Carbonate
- Manganese(III) Iodide
- Manganese(II) Hydrogen Carbonate
- Manganese(IV) Nitrate
- Manganese(II) Sulfate
- Manganese(IV) Phosphate
- Manganese(II) Hypochlorite
- Manganese(III) Iodate
- Manganese(IV) Acetate
Manganese Dioxide (MnO2)
This dark-colored inorganic manganese compound occurs in nature as the mineral pyrolusite, which is the main manganese ore from which this substance is obtained. Hence, this is the most important manganese compound. The naturally occurring manganese dioxide also contains large amounts of manganese(III) oxide, as well as many impurities in the form of trace elements.
Potassium Permanganate (KMnO4)
This inorganic manganese compound incorporates manganese oxide ore with potassium hydroxide in a compound. It is often used in skin treatments, including bacterial and fungal infections.
List of Manganese Minerals
- Manganese disulfide
- Manganese nodule
- Manganese oxide
- Manganoan calcite
5 Interesting Facts and Explanations
- Since only one slice of whole wheat bread contains 0.7 milligrams of manganese, a sandwich made of two pieces of this type of bread may serve as a dietary supplement of this trace element for about two-thirds of the daily requirements.
- A diet rich which includes whole grains as a rich source of manganese may reduce the risk of heart problems, various inflammatory health issues, or even cancer.
- The largest quantity of manganese contained in a potato is concentrated in its skin, along with various other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, iron, fiber, and vitamin B6.
- Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is an antioxidant enzyme activated by manganese. Found in all living cells, this enzyme spurs some of the chemical reactions in the body. Also, it helps the body fight against the inflammatory processes by breaking down the oxygen molecules that have the potential to inflict damage to the cells.
- Amethyst gets its purple color from the presence of manganese as a trace element impurity in the structure of the crystal.