A critical review of selenium biogeochemical behavior in soil-plant system with an inference to human health

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Natasha, Shahid, M, Niazi, NK, Khalid, S, Murtaza, B, Bibi, I & Rashid, MI 2018, 'A critical review of selenium biogeochemical behavior in soil-plant system with an inference to human health', Environmental Pollution, vol. 234, pp. 915-934.

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Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for humans and animals, although controversial for different plant species. There exists a narrow line between essential, beneficial and toxic levels of Se to living organisms which greatly varies with Se speciation, as well as the type of living organisms. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor its solid- and solution-phase speciation, exposure levels and pathways to living organisms. Consumption of Se-laced food (cereals, vegetables, legumes and pulses) is the prime source of Se exposure to humans. Thus, it is imperative to assess the biogeochemical behavior of Se in soil-plant system with respect to applied levels and speciation, which ultimately affect Se status in humans. Based on available relevant literature, this review traces a plausible link among (i) Se levels, sources, speciation, bioavailability, and effect of soil chemical properties on selenium bioavailability/speciation in soil; (ii) role of different protein transporters in soil-root-shoot transfer of Se; and (iii) speciation, metabolism, phytotoxicity and detoxification of Se inside plants. The toxic and beneficial effects of Se to plants have been discussed with respect to speciation and toxic/deficient concentration of Se. We highlight the significance of various enzymatic (catalase, peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, ascorbate peroxidase, glutathione peroxidase) and non-enzymatic (phytochelatins and glutathione) antioxidants which help combat Se-induced overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS). The review also delineates Se accumulation in edible plant parts from soils containing low or high Se levels; elucidates associated health disorders or risks due to the consumption of Se-deficient or Se-rich foods; discusses the potential role of Se in different human disorders/diseases.

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