Plant and Soil

, Volume 332, Issue 1–2, pp 5–18 | Cite as

Selenium biofortification of high-yielding winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) by liquid or granular Se fertilisation

  • Martin R. Broadley
  • John Alcock
  • James Alford
  • Paul Cartwright
  • Ian Foot
  • Susan J. Fairweather-Tait
  • David J. Hart
  • Rachel Hurst
  • Peter Knott
  • Steve P. McGrath
  • Mark C. Meacham
  • Keith Norman
  • Hugh Mowat
  • Peter Scott
  • Jacqueline L. Stroud
  • Matthew Tovey
  • Mark Tucker
  • Philip J. White
  • Scott D. Young
  • Fang-Jie Zhao
Regular Article

Abstract

Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for humans and livestock. In the UK, human Se intake and status has declined since the 1980s. This is primarily due to the increased use of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) grown in UK soils which are naturally low in Se. The aim of this study was to determine the potential for increasing grain Se concentration in a high-yielding UK wheat crop using fertilisers. The crop response of winter-wheat to Se fertilisation was determined under standard field conditions in two consecutive years at up to 10 sites. Selenium fertilisers were applied as high-volume drenches of sodium selenate solution, or as granular Se-containing products. Yield and harvest index were unaffected by Se fertilisation. Under all treatments, grain Se concentration increased by 16–26 ng Se g−1 fresh weight (FW) per gram Se ha−1 applied. An application of 10 g Se ha−1 would thereby increase the Se concentration of most UK wheat grain 10-fold from current ambient levels and agronomic biofortification of UK-grown wheat is feasible. Total recovery (grain and straw) of applied Se was 20–35%. The fate of Se in the food-chain and in the soil must be determined in order to optimize the efficiency of this process.

Keywords

Agronomic biofortification Cereals Micronutrients Diet Selenium fertilisers 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The work was conducted under the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) Sustainable Arable LINK Programme (LK0974; 2005–2009). The study was funded 50% by Defra and 50% by industry. Project participants from all industry partners are named as co-authors. The academic partners (from UoN, RRes, SCRI, IFR, UEA) have no personal financial interests in any of the companies involved in funding this study. Rothamsted Research is an institute of the UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin R. Broadley
    • 1
  • John Alcock
    • 1
  • James Alford
    • 2
  • Paul Cartwright
    • 2
  • Ian Foot
    • 4
  • Susan J. Fairweather-Tait
    • 5
  • David J. Hart
    • 6
  • Rachel Hurst
    • 5
  • Peter Knott
    • 7
  • Steve P. McGrath
    • 3
  • Mark C. Meacham
    • 1
  • Keith Norman
    • 2
  • Hugh Mowat
    • 7
  • Peter Scott
    • 8
  • Jacqueline L. Stroud
    • 3
  • Matthew Tovey
    • 1
  • Mark Tucker
    • 9
  • Philip J. White
    • 10
  • Scott D. Young
    • 1
  • Fang-Jie Zhao
    • 3
  1. 1.School of BiosciencesUniversity of NottinghamLeicestershireUK
  2. 2.Velcourt R&D, The Stables, Red House FarmCambridgeshireUK
  3. 3.Rothamsted ResearchHarpendenUK
  4. 4.Limagrain UK LtdBury St EdmundsUK
  5. 5.School of Medicine, Health Policy and PracticeUniversity of East AngliaNorwichUK
  6. 6.Institute of Food ResearchNorwichUK
  7. 7.Marks and Spencer plcLondonUK
  8. 8.Carr’s FertilisersCarlisleUK
  9. 9.Yara (UK) LtdNE LincolnshireUK
  10. 10.Scottish Crop Research InstituteDundeeUK

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