Strategies for increasing the selenium content of wheat

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Hawkesford, M. J. and Zhao, F-J. 2007. Strategies for increasing the selenium content of wheat. Journal of Cereal Science. 46 (3), pp. 282-292.

AuthorsHawkesford, M. J. and Zhao, F-J.

Selenium (Se) is essential for humans and animals but has no known function in plants. Excess accumulation is toxic to both plants and animals. Dietary intake of Se is low in a large number of people worldwide. This is due to low bioavailability of Se in some soils and consequently low concentrations of Se in plant tissues.

Both selenate and selenite are taken up by plants and subsequently translocated around the plant. Selenate, an analogue of sulphate, is transported by the sulphate transporter family. Some plants are able to accumulate high internal concentrations of Se (hyperaccumulators); however, genetic variation in accumulation ability amongst non-accumulators such as cereals, is relatively small.

Within plant tissues, Se enters the pathways for sulphate assimilation and metabolism and will replace cysteine and methionine in proteins, often with detrimental effect. Alternatively, Se may be accumulated as methylated derivatives or lost from the plant following volatilisation.

Agronomic biofortification of crops with Se-containing fertilisers, which is practised in some countries, provides the best short-term solution for improving Se content of wheat. Longer-term genetic improvement, particularly by targeting substrate discrimination of transporters between selenate and sulphate, for example, may provide a means to enhance uptake and promote accumulation.

Year of Publication2007
JournalJournal of Cereal Science
Journal citation46 (3), pp. 282-292
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Open accessPublished as non-open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeSEF
Centre for Crop Genetic Improvement (CGI)
Biofortification of wheat with selenium to increase human dietary intake BAGELS
Soil protection and remediation by chemical and biological approaches
Regulation of sulphate transporter gene expression and sulphur metabolism in cereals, source-sink interactions and sulphur supply to grain tissues
Publisher's version
Copyright license
Publisher copyright
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online21 Mar 2007
Publication process dates
Accepted28 Feb 2007
PublisherAcademic Press Ltd- Elsevier Science Ltd

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