Radicular and foliar uptake, and xylem- and phloem-mediated transport of selenium in maize (Zea mays L.): a comparison of five Se exogenous species

  • Mengke Wang
  • Quang Toan Dinh
  • Mingxing Qi
  • Min Wang
  • Wenxiao Yang
  • Fei Zhou
  • Dongli LiangEmail author
Regular Article



Various species of selenium (Se) can be radicularly or foliarly absorbed by plants. However, differences of these species in uptake and transport via the xylem or phloem remain unclear.


Maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings were grown in hydroponic solutions with five exogenous Se species [inorganic forms: selenite and selenate; and organic forms: selenomethionine (SeMet), methyl-selenocysteine (MeSeCys), and selenocystine (SeCys2)] radicularly or foliarly applied on the plants.


Under radicular application, the seedlings showed higher root uptake of organic Se than inorganic forms. Moreover, the largest proportion of Se in the shoots was found under MeSeCys treatment. Se accumulation under foliar application was low. The uptake of inorganic Se was higher than that of organic forms under foliar treatments. The phloem of maize showed a strong ability for downward Se transport, although the proportion of that in the whole plant was small (<10%). The largest percentage of Se distributed in the roots was found under MeSeCys treatments.


As a C4 species, maize can accumulate much Se from organic Se through root uptake but from inorganic forms through leaf uptake. It can transport much Se from the “source” to the “sink” with the application of organic Se, especially MeSeCys.


Absorption Leaf Redistribution Split-root Translocation 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant number 41571454, to D.L. Liang).

Supplementary material

11104_2019_4346_MOESM1_ESM.docx (772 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 772 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mengke Wang
    • 1
  • Quang Toan Dinh
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mingxing Qi
    • 1
  • Min Wang
    • 1
  • Wenxiao Yang
    • 1
  • Fei Zhou
    • 1
  • Dongli Liang
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Natural Resources and EnvironmentNorthwest A&F UniversityYanglingChina
  2. 2.Faculty of Management ScienceThu Dau Mot UniversityThu Dau Mot CityVietnam
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Plant Nutrition and the Agri-environment in Northwest ChinaMinistry of AgricultureYanglingChina

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