Bismuth subcarbonate (BiO)2CO3, sometimes written Bi2O2(CO3) is a chemical compound of bismuth containing both oxide and carbonate anions. Bismuth is in the +3 oxidation state. Bismuth subcarbonate occurs naturally as the mineral bismutite. Its structure[1] consists of Bi-O layers and CO3 layers and is related to kettnerite, CaBi(CO3)OF. It is light sensitive.


It is highly radiopaque and for example is used as a filler in radiopaque catheters which can be seen by x-ray.[2] In modern medicine, bismuth subcarbonate has been made into nanotube arrays that exhibit antibacterial properties.[3] It is also used in fireworks [4] to make Dragon's eggs. It is a constituent of milk of bismuth which was a popular digestive tract panacea in the 1930s[5]


Bismuth subcarbonate may be harmful if swallowed. It may irritate the respiratory and gastrointestinal tract.


  1. ^ Joel D. Grice (2002). "A Solution to the crystal structures of bismutite and beyerite". The Canadian Mineralogist. 40 (2): 693–698. doi:10.2113/gscanmin.40.2.693. 
  2. ^ Flexible, highly radiopaque plastic material catheter - Patent 5300048
  3. ^ Chen R, So MH, Yang J, Deng F, Che CM, Sun H (2006). "Fabrication of bismuth subcarbonate nanotube arrays from bismuth citrate". Chem. Commun. (21): 2265–2267. doi:10.1039/b601764a. PMID 16718324. 
  4. ^ How To Make Cheaper Crackling Firework Stars (Dragon Eggs) With Bismuth Subcarbonate Archived June 9, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Park & Davis Co catalog entry for milk of bismuth

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