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Trends Plant Sci. 2009 Aug;14(8):436-42. doi: 10.1016/j.tplants.2009.06.006. Epub 2009 Aug 6.

Selenium in higher plants: understanding mechanisms for biofortification and phytoremediation.

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Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China.


Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient for many organisms, including plants, animals and humans. As plants are the main source of dietary Se, plant Se metabolism is therefore important for Se nutrition of humans and other animals. However, the concentration of Se in plant foods varies between areas, and too much Se can lead to toxicity. As we discuss here, plant Se uptake and metabolism can be exploited for the purposes of developing high-Se crop cultivars and for plant-mediated removal of excess Se from soil or water. Here, we review key developments in the current understanding of Se in higher plants. We also discuss recent advances in the genetic engineering of Se metabolism, particularly for biofortification and phytoremediation of Se-contaminated environments.

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