The arsenite ion may be formed from arsenic trioxide by adding base.
Its white odorless crystals are toxic and very soluble in water. It occurs in nature as arsenolite and claudetite and is also a by-product of metal smelting. Its main use is in producing copper chrome arsenate to treat timber. It is also used for arsenic pesticides, glass production, pharmaceuticals and non-ferrous alloys.
In 2008, bacteria were discovered that employ a version of photosynthesis with arsenites as electron donors, producing arsenates (just like ordinary photosynthesis uses water as electron donor, producing molecular oxygen). The researchers conjectured that historically these photosynthesizing organisms produced the arsenates that allowed the arsenate-reducing bacteria to thrive.
Expression of Hsp 27, Hsp 60, Hsc 70, and Hsp 70 Stress Response Genes in Cultured Human Urothelial Cells (UROtsa) Exposed to Lethal and Sublethal Concentrations of Sodium Arsenite
Dec 01, 2002; The stress response is one mechanism that the bladder urothelium could potentially employ to protect itself from cellular damage...