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Understanding boosting selenium accumulation in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) following foliar selenium application at different stages, forms, and doses

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There are a lack of systematic studies comparing the effects of foliar-applied selenium (Se) with different Se sources at different growth stages in wheat. Herein, we biofortified wheat via the foliar application of selenite and selenate at different rates and different stages under field conditions. Results showed that foliar-applied selenate and selenite had no significant effect either on wheat biomass or grain yield (p < 0.05). Selenium distribution in different parts of wheat plant ranked decrease as leaf > root > grain > glume > stem with selenite treatment, and it appeared in the decline order as leaf > grain > glume > stem > root with selenate treatment. These results suggested that biofortification with selenate caused, relatively to selenite, a higher accumulation of Se in grains. Foliar application of Se of either selenate or selenite at pre-filling stage was superior in improving the Se concentration of wheat grains than application at pre-flowering stage. Meanwhile, organic Se comprised about 72–93% of total Se in wheat grains, which was reduced by 5.8% at high Se rate (100 g ha−1), irrespective of the forms of Se or stages applied. The organic Se proportion in wheat grains was 9% higher with the selenate treatment than with the selenite treatment. Selenomethionine (SeMet) was the main organic species (67–86%) in wheat grains, followed by selenocysteine (SeCys2). In summary, our results indicate that Se biofortification of wheat is most effective with 20 g ha−1 selenate foliar-applied at pre-filling stage.

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The authors thank for the financial support provided by Public Welfare Geological Survey Project of Shaanxi Geological Survey Institute (No. 20180307) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 41571454).

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Correspondence to Dongli Liang.

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Responsible editor: Gangrong Shi

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Wang, M., Ali, F., Wang, M. et al. Understanding boosting selenium accumulation in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) following foliar selenium application at different stages, forms, and doses. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 717–728 (2020).

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