Effects of Different Selenium Application Methods on Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Biofortification and Nutritional Quality

  • Yong Liang
  • Yuexing Chen
  • Dong Liu
  • Jianping Cheng
  • Gang Zhao
  • Tzion Fahima
  • Jun Yan yan_jun62@qq.com


Abstract: Mineral nutrient malnutrition, especially deficiency in selenium (Se), affects the health of approximately 1 billion people worldwide. Wheat, a staple food crop, plays an important role in producing Se-enriched foodstuffs to increase the Se intake of humans. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of different Se application methods on grain yield and nutritional quality, grain Se absorption and accumulation, as well as 14 other trace elements concentrations in wheat grains. A sand culture experiment was conducted via a completely randomized 2 x 2 x 1 factorial scheme (three Se levels x two methods of Se application, foliar or soil x one Se sources, selenite), with two wheat cultivars (Guizi No.1, Chinese Spring). The results showed that both foliar Se and soil Se application methods had effects on wheat pollination. Foliar Se application resulted in early flowering of wheat, while soil Se application caused early flowering of wheat at low Se levels (5 mg kg-1) and delayed wheat flowering at high selenium levels (10 mg kg-1), respectively. For trace elements, human essential trace elements (Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, Cr, Mo, Co and Ni) concentrations in wheat grains were dependent of Se application methods and wheat cultivars. However, toxic trace elements (Cd, Pb, Hg, As, Li and Al) concentrations can be decreased by both methods, indicating a possible antagonistic effect. Moreover, both methods increased Se concentrations, and improved grain yield and nutritional quality, while the foliar application was better than soil. Accordingly, this study provided useful information concerning nutritional biofortification of wheat, indicating that it is feasible to apply Se to conduct Se biofortification, inhibit the heavy metal elements concentrations and improve yield and quality in crops, which caused human health benefits.
Keywords: Selenium; grain yield and nutritional quality; trace elements; wheat; biofortification