Biologia Plantarum

, Volume 61, Issue 4, pp 726–732 | Cite as

Application of X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy to the study of the effect of sulphur on selenium uptake and assimilation in wheat seedlings

  • Q. Q. Huang
  • Q. Wang
  • Y. N. Wan
  • Y. Yu
  • R. F. Jiang
  • H. F. LiEmail author
Original paper


Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for humans and animals. A hydroponic experiment was performed to study the effects of sulphur (S) on Se uptake, translocation, and assimilation in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seedlings. Sulphur starvation had a positive effect on selenate uptake and the form of Se supplied greatly influenced Se speciation in plants. Compared with the control plants, Se uptake by the S-starved plants was enhanced by 4.81-fold in the selenate treatment, and selenate was readily transported from roots to shoots. By contrast, S starvation had no significant effect on selenite uptake, and selenite taken up by roots was rapidly converted to organic forms and tended to accumulate in roots. X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (XANES) analysis showed that organic forms of selenium, including selenocystine, Se-methyl-selenocysteine (MeSeCys), and selenomethionine-Se-oxide, were dominant in the plants exposed to selenite and accounted for approximately 90 % of the total Se. Whereas selenate remained as the dominant species in the roots and shoots exposed to selenate, with little selenate converted to selenite and MeSeCys. Besides, sulphur starvation increased the proportion of inorganic Se species in the selenate-supplied plants, but had no significant effects on Se speciation in plants exposed to selenite. The present study provides important knowledge to understand the associated mechanism of Se uptake and metabolism in plants.

Additional key words

selenate selenite XANES 



ATP sulphurylase






reactive oxygen species








X-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy.


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Copyright information

© The Institute of Experimental Botany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Q. Q. Huang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Q. Wang
    • 1
  • Y. N. Wan
    • 1
  • Y. Yu
    • 1
  • R. F. Jiang
    • 1
  • H. F. Li
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.College of Resources and Environmental SciencesChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingP.R. China
  2. 2.Institute of Agro-Environmental ProtectionMinistry of AgricultureTianjinP.R. China

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