Environmental Geochemistry and Health

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 267–280 | Cite as

Environmental Se–Mo–B Deficiency and its Possible Effects on Crops and Keshan–Beck Disease (KBD) in the Chousang Area, Yao County, Shaanxi Province, China

  • Weixuan Fang
  • Pengwu Wu
  • Ruizhong Hu
  • Zhuanying Huang


Causes of Keshan–Beck disease (KBD) are still being probed and monitored in China. Relationships between trace elements from eco-environmental systems and KBD are poorly understood although relationships between environmental Se and human health have received extensive attention. In order to investigate relationships between eco-environmental geochemistry and KBD, we selected the Chousang KBD area in Yao County, Shaanxi Province, China, as an example of a prevailing KBD area applying I–Se-rich salts instead of utilizing Se-rich fertilisers on food crops to prevent local residents from developing KBD before 1995. Environmentally geochemical samples (rocks, soils, plants and children's hair) were collected from the Chousang KBD area. Soils in the study area contain 0.11±0.02 µg Se g−1, 0.75±0.11 µg Mo g−1, and 34.5±1.5 µg B g−1 on average, indicating that the study area is a deficient-Se–Mo–B area. Se (0.07±0.007 µg g−1), Mo (0.35±0.09 µg g−1) and B (3±0 µg g−1) contents are low in wheat and corn used as a daily main food staple of local inhabitants. It is indicated that the study area is deficient in environmental Se–Mo–B for the local residents. Se contents of children's hair from the Yangyuan Elementary School in the study area range from 0.09 to 0.26 µg Se g−1 with an average of 0.165±0.05 µg Se g−1 (n=10) in this KBD endemic area. Due to the low levels of Se, Mo and B available in soils and rocks, crops including wheat and corn are deficient in these elements, accordingly, the deficiency of Se, Mo and B in this area may be linked to the daily consumption of wheat and corn deficient in Se, Mo and B. Therefore, local inhabitants should be encouraged to fertilise mixtures of Se, Mo and B on crop plants in order to avoid development of KBD and guarantee a good harvest of crops.

China eco-environmental geochemistry Keshan–Beck disease Se–Mo–B deficiency Shaanxi 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weixuan Fang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pengwu Wu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Ruizhong Hu
    • 1
  • Zhuanying Huang
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Open Laboratory of Ore Deposit Geochemistry (LODG)Institute of Geochemistry, Chinese Academy of SciencesGuiyangPR China
  2. 2.The Mineral and Geological Exploration Centre of Nonferrous MetalsBeijingPR China
  3. 3.The Institute of Geophysical and Geochemical ExplorationCNNCXi'anPR China

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