Soil selenium concentration and Kashin-Beck disease prevalence in Tibet, China

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In order to investigate the correlation between the prevalence of Kashin-Back disease (KBD) and Se concentrations, natural soil samples and cultivated soil samples were collected from southeastern Tibet, China; and the soil Se concentrations were measured by atomic fluorescent spectrophotometer. It was found that the mean Se concentrations of natural soil samples in KBD areas, from the first layer to the third layer, were 0.17 mg/kg, 0.11 mg/kg, and 0.10 mg/kg, respectively, and in nondisease areas were 0.21 mg/kg, 0.24 mg/kg, and 0.13mg/kg, respectively. The mean Se concentrations of cultivated soil samples were 0.10 mg/kg in KBD areas and 0.23 mg/kg in non-disease areas, respectively. Soil Se concentrations in KBD areas were lower than that in non-disease areas, and the mean concentrations of soil Se in Tibet were lower than the average of China (0.29 mg/kg). Therefore, there is a close relationship between soil Se concentrations and KBD in Tibet. More studies should be concentrated on the impacts of Se deficiency in soils and its relationship with Se concentrations in food-grain and the human body in Tibet areas.