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The effect of nationwide selenium enrichment of fertilizers on selenium status of healthy finnish medical students living in south western Finland


In Finland commercial fertilizers have been enriched with sodium selenate since July 1, 1984 in order to compensate for the poor selenium content of the soil. Fertilizers that are used for the production of hay and fodder were supplemented with 6 mg/kg of selenium, whereas fertilizers used for the production of cereals were supplemented with a higher dose, 16 mg/kg fertilizer. The effects of selenium fertilization were first seen in dairy products in June 1985, and from the beginning of August 1985, the effect was evident also in wheat flour, beef, and bovine liver.

In this study the selenium status of 108 healthy young adults has been systematically documented since November 1985, at which time the mean selenium serum level (S-Se) was 1.05 umol/L. A steady increase was observed until November 1989, when the maximum level, with a mean of S-Se 1.6 umol/L was reached. After that, a slight decrease has occurred. The mean serum selenium level in autumn 1991 in a new group of 35 students was 1.58 umol/L. This decrease can be explained by the high amount of imported cereals in 1988 and 1989, which was reflected also in the serum selenium levels.

The glutathione peroxidase activity in erythrocytes in 1989–1990 was at the same level as in 1985 and 1986.

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Correspondence to A-L. Mäkelä.

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Mäkelä, AL., Näntö, V., Mäkela, P. et al. The effect of nationwide selenium enrichment of fertilizers on selenium status of healthy finnish medical students living in south western Finland. Biol Trace Elem Res 36, 151–157 (1993).

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Index Entries

  • Selenium
  • selenium fertilization
  • selenium serum levels
  • sodium selenate
  • selenate fertilization
  • human selenium status