Se Supplementation of Fertilizers Has Increased the Se Intake and Serum-Se Concentration of Finnish People

  • A. Aro
  • G. Alfthan
  • P. Varo
Conference paper


In studies on the mineral composition of Finnish foods in the 1970s low selenium (Se) concentrations of domestic foods were observed (Varo and Koivistoinen 1980) and the mean Se intake of the population was estimated to be around 25 µg day−1. As the results of some epidemiological studies suggested that very low serum-Se concentrations, indicating low Se intakes, were associated with increased risk of cardiovascular death or the risk of cancer, concern was expressed on the quality of domestic foods in Finland. Consequently, a decision was made to supplement multimineral fertilizers with Se starting in 1984 (Koivistoinen and Huttunen 1986). This decision was preceded, among other measures, by a series of agricultural studies showing that in Finland the soil-Se is poorly available for plants. It is assumed that the main factors immobilizing Se are low pH, reducing conditions and high iron content in the soil. Furthermore, it was shown that Se as sodium selenate is incorporated into plants, more readily to the leafy parts than to grains (Yläranta 1985). For this reason, fertilizers which are used for the production of hay and fodder were supplemented with 6 mg kg−1 of Se while fertilizers used for the production of cereals were supplemented with a higher dose, 16 mg kg −1 fertilizer.


Serum Selenium Selenium Intake Electrothermal Atomic Absorption Spectrometry Sodium Selenate Domestic Food 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Aro
    • 1
  • G. Alfthan
    • 1
  • P. Varo
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryNational Public Health InstituteHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of General ChemistryUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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