Biological properties

Antibacterial properties

GeO2 can inhibit the growth of the diatom Phaeodactylum tricornutum [1]. The effect has been suggested to be from inhibition of silica shell formation [1]. High levels of Ge(OH)4 has been reported to inhibit silicon uptake, chlorophyll synthesis and photosynthetic carbon fixation by diatoms [1].

The organogermanium compounds bis(D,L-lactato)germanium(IV), bis(L-lactato)germanium(IV), bis (thiolactato)germanium(IV) and bis(thioglycolato)germanium(IV) were tested for their antimutagenic activity in Salmonella typhimurium. Each compound showed moderate activity against the mutagenic effect of nitroaromatic compounds and weak effects against the mutagenic activity of ethylmethane sulfonate. No inhibition of mutagenicity was observed against the indirect acting promutagens benzo(a)pyrene and 2-aminoanthracene [2].

Carcinogenic properties

Germanium can inhibit deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), ribonucleic acid (RNA), and protein synthesis in in vitro systems, with resultant impairment of cellular replication and cell killing [8].

Immunological properties

Germanium compounds are also known to be immunosuppressive to both the humoral and cellular aspects of the immune function [8].


There are indications that germanium-based agents prolong opiod analgesia and therefore that this element, may interfere with drug-metabolizing systems [8].