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Geochemistry of selenium.

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  • 1Institute of Soil Science and Plant Cultivation, Pulawy, Poland.


Selenium (Se) is one of the most peculiar chemical elements in the geo- and biospheres. It partly resembles sulfur and tellurium; however, its behavior in the geosphere and its functions in the biosphere are very specific. Despite a relatively large database, its cycling in both the natural environment and in that modified by human activities requires further study. Selenium is rather concentrated in the geospheric cycle and is also bioconcentrated. The values of its accumulation ratios are: 5 for soil/sandstone, 2 for animal tissues/sandstone, and 5 for animal tissues/grain. For a specific plant/soil system, the bioconcentration factor for plants always has to be estimated because some plants can absorb extremely high concentrations of Se. Their ability to accumulate and tolerate high Se levels is related to different Se metabolisms. These plants play a significant role in geochemical prospecting and animal nutrition. This paper presents some geochemical observations toward a better understanding of the environmental properties of Se.

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