Plant and Soil

, Volume 337, Issue 1–2, pp 273–283 | Cite as

Agronomic biofortification of Brassica with selenium—enrichment of SeMet and its identification in Brassica seeds and meal

  • Mervi M. SeppänenEmail author
  • Juha Kontturi
  • Isabel Lopez Heras
  • Yolanda Madrid
  • Carmen Cámara
  • Helinä Hartikainen
Regular Article


Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient and is circulated to the food chain through crops. Brassica species are efficient in Se accumulation and thus, good species for Se biofortification purposes. The residual fraction obtained after oil processing of Brassica seeds, the meal, is an important protein source in animal diets and used in feed concentrates. The accumulation of soil or foliar applied Se in the seeds and meal of Brassica napus and B. rapa as well as its effects on growth and yield formation was studied in two field experiments. Also, a HPLC-ICP-MS based method for the identification and quantification of Se species in Brassica seeds and meal was developed. Selenium application did not affect the yield or oil content. High accumulation of Se in the seeds and meal (1.92–1.96 μg Se g−1) was detected. Biotransformation of inorganic Se was evaluated by using HPLC-ICP-MS previous enzymatic hydrolysis for species extraction. The Se speciation studies showed that up to 85% of the total Se was SeMet whereas other Se-species were not detected. We conclude that the agronomic biofortification of Brassica species can improve the nutritive quality of the protein rich meal fraction as it contains significant amount of SeMet.


Biofortification Brassica napus Brassica rapa Fertilization Oil seed rape Selenium SeMet Speciation Turnip rape 



M. Seppänen greatfully acknowledges Dr. Päivi Ekholm for assistance in Se analysis and Raisio Ltd. and Yara-Suomi Ltd. for their financial support and the Spanish team to the MICIN and Regional Government of Madrid for financial support through the projects CTQ-2008-05925 and CAM-S2009/AGR/1464 respectively.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mervi M. Seppänen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Juha Kontturi
    • 1
  • Isabel Lopez Heras
    • 3
  • Yolanda Madrid
    • 3
  • Carmen Cámara
    • 3
  • Helinä Hartikainen
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural SciencesUniverstity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Food and Environmental SciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Departamento de Química AnalíticaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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