Selenium in plants

Molecular, Physiological, Ecological and Evolutionary Aspects

  • Elizabeth A.H. Pilon-Smits
  • Lenny H.E. Winkel
  • Zhi-Qing Lin

Part of the Plant Ecophysiology book series (KLEC, volume 11)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvi
  2. Selenium Distribution, Bioavailability and Metabolism in Plants

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Zackary Guignardi, Michela Schiavon
      Pages 21-34
    3. Masanori Tamaoki, Akiko Maruyama-Nakashita
      Pages 35-51
    4. Elizabeth A. H. Pilon-Smits
      Pages 53-66
  3. Selenium Metabolism in Non-plant Organisms – Influence on Se Fluxes in Ecosystems and Relevance for Human Health

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 67-67
    2. Michela Schiavon, Francesca Dalla Vecchia
      Pages 69-77
    3. Lucian C. Staicu, Ronald S. Oremland, Ryuta Tobe, Hisaaki Mihara
      Pages 79-108
    4. Alyssa T. Cochran
      Pages 109-121
  4. Genetic, Evolutionary and Ecological Aspects of Plant Se Accumulation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 141-141
    2. Philip J. White
      Pages 143-163
    3. Colin F. Quinn, Ali F. El Mehdawi, Elizabeth A. H. Pilon-Smits
      Pages 177-188
    4. R. Jason B. Reynolds, Jennifer J. Cappa, Elizabeth A. H. Pilon-Smits
      Pages 189-205
  5. The Societal Relevance of Se for Human and Environmental Health: Biofortification and Phytoremediation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 207-207
    2. André Rodrigues dos Reis, Hassan El-Ramady, Elcio Ferreira Santos, Priscila Lupino Gratão, Lutz Schomburg
      Pages 209-230
    3. Gary S. Bañuelos, Zhi-Qing Lin, Martin Broadley
      Pages 231-255
    4. Michela Schiavon, Leonardo Warzea Lima, Ying Jiang, Malcolm J. Hawkesford
      Pages 257-275
    5. Karaj S. Dhillon, Gary S. Bañuelos
      Pages 277-321
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 323-324

About this book


This book focuses on selenium (Se) metabolism in plants. It not only covers plant genetic, biochemical and physiological processes but places these in the context of Se movement in the food chain and the global environment, as well as discusses ecological and evolutionary significance. While Se is an essential micronutrient, it is toxic at high levels, and there is a narrow window between Se adequacy and toxicity. More than a billion people and their livestock in low-Se regions have been estimated to be affected by Se deficiency, which compromises the immune system, thyroid activity, male fertility and mental function. In high-Se areas, Se toxicity is a problem. Selenium-accumulating plants may be used to alleviate Se deficiency in consumers (biofortification), or to remove environmental Se pollution (phytoremediation), both covered extensively in this volume. Plant species genetically vary in Se uptake, metabolism and tolerance. Some plants native to seleniferous soils can even hyperaccumulate Se up to 1.5% of their dry weight. The book reviews the latest knowledge about the processes involved in Se uptake, metabolism, tolerance and (hyper)accumulation, as well as successful approaches to optimize Se accumulation and speciation via classical crop breeding and genetic engineering. Global processes that control Se distribution and movement are reviewed, as are associated deficiency and toxicity issues. Relevant for Se bioavailability and for Se movement in the food chain, Se metabolism is also reviewed in prokaryotes and in mammalian consumers, and the nutritional benefits of plant Se on consumers are discussed. The reader will learn about the profound ecological effects of plant Se on interactions with herbivores, pollinators, microbes and other plants, and the likely selection pressures that drive the evolution of Se hyperaccumulation.


selenium plant ecophysiology human health environmental health plant biochemistry Plant nutrition Metabolism

Editors and affiliations

  • Elizabeth A.H. Pilon-Smits
    • 1
  • Lenny H.E. Winkel
    • 2
  • Zhi-Qing Lin
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of BiologyColorado State UniversityFort CollinsUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Biogeochemistry and Pollutant DynamicsETH ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Environmental Sciences Program and Department of Biological SciencesSouthern Illinois University EdwardsvilleEdwardsvilleUSA

Bibliographic information