After its discovery, selenium was most noted for its harmful effects. Selenium was the first element identified to occur in native vegetation at levels toxic to animals. Poisoning of animals can occur through consumption of plants containing toxic levels of selenium. Livestock consuming excessive amounts of selenized forages are afflicted with “alkali disease” and “blind staggers”. Typical symptoms of these diseases include loss of hair, deformed hooves, blindness, colic, diarrhoea, lethargy, increased heart and respiration rates, and eventually death. On the other hand, selenium deficiency in animal feeds can cause “white muscle disease”, a degenerative disease of the cardiac and skeletal muscles. In this regard, this review paper attempts to summarize the essentiality of selenium for humans, animals, and plants and the role of selenium in plant metabolism and physiology.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.
 K. Schwarz C. M. Foltz Selenium as an integral part of factor 3 against dietary necrotic liver degeneration. Journal of American Chemistry Society 70. (1957) 3292–3293.
 D. A. Kopsell D. E. Kopsell Selenium. Chapter 18. In: A. V. Barker D. J. Plibeam (eds) Handbook of plant nutrition. CRC Press. (2007) 515–549.
 E. A. H. Pilon-Smits C. F. Quinn W. Tapken M. Malagoli M. Schiavon Physiological functions of beneficial elements. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 12. (2009) 267–274.
 H. Hartikainen Biogeochemistry of selenium and its impact on food chain quality and human health. Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology 18. (2005) 309–318.
 A. F. El Mehdawi J. J. Cappa S. C. Fakra J. Self E. A. H. Pilon-Smits Interactions of selenium hyperaccumulators and nonaccumulators during cocultivation on seleniferous or nonseleniferous soil – the importance of having good neighbors. New Phytologist 194. (2012) 264–277.
 H. El-Ramady T. Alshaal É. Domokos-Szabolcsy T. Shalaby Y. Bayoumi N. Elhawat A. Sztrik J. Prokisch M. Fári Selenium and its role in higher plants. In: E. Lichtfouse (ed.) Environmental chemistry for a sustainable world 6. Springer Berlin. (2014b).
 L. F. De Filippis Biochemical and molecular aspects in phytore-mediation of selenium. In: M. Ashraf M. Ozturk M. S. A. Ahmad (eds) Plant adaptation and phytoremediation Springer Dordrecht/Heidelberg/London/New York. (2010).
 T. C. Broyer C. M. Johnson R. P. Hudson Selenium and nutrition of Astragalus I: Effects of selenite or selenate supply on growth and selenium content. Plant and Soil 36. (1972) 635–649.
 T. C. Stadtman Selenium biochemistry known as Se. Annual Review of Biochemistry 59. (1990) 111–128.
 T. C. Stadtman Selenocysteine. Annual Review of Biochemistry 65. (1996) 83–100.
 M. J. Axley A. Boeck T. C. Stadtman Catalytic properties of an Escherichia coli format dehydrogenase mutant in which sulphur replaces selenium. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 88. (1991) 8450–8454.
 C. Reilly Selenium in food and health. 2nd ed. Springer Berlin. (2006).
 D. R. Ellis D. E. Salt Plants selenium and human health. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 6. (2003) 273–279.
 S. C. Low M. J. Berry Knowing when not to stop: selenocysteine incorporation in eukaryotes. Trends in Biochemical Sciences 21. (1996) 203–208.
 L. H. Fu X. F. Wang Y. Eyal Y. M. She L. J. Donald K. G. Standing G. Ben-Hayyim A seleno protein in the plant kingdom. The Journal of Biological Chemistry 277. (2002) 25983–25991.
 A. K. Shanker Countering UV-B stress in plants: does selenium have a role? Plant and Soil 282. (2006) 21–26.
 S. J. Hamilton Review of selenium toxicity in the aquatic food chain. Science of the Total Environment 326. (2004) 1–31.
 G. F. Combs S. B. Combs The role of selenium in nutrition. Academic Press Orlando. (1986).
 M. Germ V. Stibilj I. Kreft Metabolic importance of selenium for plants. European Journal of Plant Science and Biotechnology 1. (2007) 91–97.
 E. A. H. Pilon-Smits Selenium in plants. In: U. Luettge W. Beyschlag (eds) Progress in botany 76 Springer International Publishing Cham. (2015) 93–107.
 A. L. Moxon O. E. Olson Selenium in agriculture. In: Selenium. Van Nostrand New York (1974) 675.
 E. Kabata-Pendias Trace elements in soils and plants. 4th ed. CRC Press Taylor & Francis Boca Raton. (2011).
 M. Hasanuzzaman M. A. Hossain F. Masayuki Selenium in higher plants: physiological role antioxidant metabolism and abiotic stress tolerance. Journal of Plant Science 5. (2010) 354–375.
 R. Hajiboland Effect of micronutrient deficiencies on plants stress responses. In: P. Ahmad M. N. V. Prasad (eds) Abiotic stress responses in plants: metabolism productivity and sustainability. Springer Berlin. (2012) 283–329.
 H. El-Ramady É. Domokos-Szabolcsy N. Abdalla T. Alshaal T. Shalaby A. Sztrik J. Prokisch M. Fári Selenium and nano-selenium in agroecosystems. Environmental Chemistry Letter 12. (2014) 495–510.
 K. Pyrzynska Solid phase extraction for preconcentration and separation of selenium. Solvent Extraction Ion Exchange 13. (1995) 369–389.
 I. Djujic O. Jozanov-Stankov M. Milovac O. Bosnic V. Djermanovic The impact of consuming wheat naturally enriched with selenium on trace elements and antioxidant defense in humans. 3rd International symposium on trace elements in human New Perspec Athens (2001). 281–304.
 M. Singh H. Singh D. K. Bhandari Interaction of selenium and sulphur on the growth and chemical composition of raya. Soil Science 129. (1980) 238–244.
 H. Hartikainen P. Ekholm V. Piironen T. Xue T. Koivu M. Yli-Halla Quality of the ryegrass and lettuce yields as affected by selenium fertilization. Agricultural and Food Science Finl. 6. (1997) 381–387.
 K. M. Carvalho M. T. Gallardo-Williams R. F. Benson D. F. Martin Effects of selenium supplementation on four agricultural crops. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 51.(2003) 704–709.
 C. C. Chen J. M. Sung Priming bitter gourd seeds with selenium solution enhances germinability and antioxidative responses under suboptimal temperature. Physiologia Plantarum 111. (2001) 9–16.
 N. Terry A. M. Zayed M. P. de Souza A. S. Tarun Selenium in higher plants. Annual Review of Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology 51. (2000) 401–432.
 P. J. White H. C. Bowen P. Parmaguru M. Fritz W. P. Spracklen R. E. Spiby M. C. Meacham A. Mead M. Harriman L. J. Trueman B. M. Smith B. Thomas M. R. Broadley Interactions between selenium and sulphur nutrition in Arabidopsis thaliana. Journal of Experimental Botany 55. (2004) 1927–1937.
 N. Rani K. S. Dhillo S. K. Dhillon Critical levels of selenium in different crops grown in an alkaline silty loam soil treated with selenite-Se. Plant and Soil 277. (2005) 367–374.
 S. M. Lyi L. I. Heller M. Rutzke R. M. Welch L. V. Kochian L. Li Molecular and biochemical characterization of the selenocysteine Se-methyltranferase gene and Se-methylselenocysteine synthesis in broccoli. Plant Physiology 138. (2005) 409–420.
 A. M. Zayed C. M. Lytle N. Terry Accumulation and volatilization of different chemical species of selenium by plants. Planta 206. (1998) 284–289.
 M. Turakainen Selenium and its effects on growth yield and tuber quality in potato. University of Helsinki Helsinki. (2007).
 Q. X. Hu J. U. G. Pang Effect of selenium on the yield and quality of green tea leaves harvested in early spring (2003). http://www.aseanfood.info/Articles/11019553.pdf.
 P. Smrkolj M. Germ I. Kreft V. Stibilj Respiratory potential and Se compounds in pea (Pisumsativum L.) plants grown from Se-enriched seeds. Journal of Experimental Botany 57. (2006) 3595–3600.
 G. H. Lyons J. C. R. Stangoulis R. D. Graham Tolerance of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) to high soil and solution selenium levels. Plant and Soil 270. (2005) 179–188.
 P. Cartes L. Gianfera M. L. Mora Uptake of selenium and its antioxidative activity in ryegrass when applied a selenate and selenite forms. Plant and Soil 276. (2005) 359–367.
 M. P. de Souza D. Chu M. Zhao A. M. Zayed S. E. Ruzin D. Schichnes N. Terry Rhizosphere bacteria enhance selenium accumulation and volatilization by Indian mustard. Plant Physiology 119. (1998) 565–574.
 D. Van Hoewyk S. E. Abdel-Ghany C. Cohu S. Herbert P. Kugrens M. Pilon E. A. H. Pilon-Smits The Arabidopsis cysteine desulfurase CpNifS is essential for maturation of iron-sulphur cluster proteins photosynthesis and chloroplast development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104. (2007) 5686–5691.
 B. Neuhierl A. Böck On the mechanism of selenium tolerance in selenium accumulating plants. Purification and characterization of a specific selenocysteine methyltransferase from cultured cells of Astragalusbisulcatus. European Journal of Biochemistry 239. (1996) 235–238.
 O. A. Beath C. S. Gilbert H. F. Eppson The use of indicator plants in locating seleniferous areas in the Western United States. I. General. American Journal of Botany 26. (1939a) 257–269.
 O. A. Beath C. S. Gilbert H. F. Eppson The use of indicator plants in locating seleniferous areas in the Western United States. II. Correlation studies by states. American Journal of Botany 26. (1939b) 296–315.
 H. H. Ge X. J. Cai J. F. Tyson P. C. Uden E. R. Denover E. Block Identification of selenium species in selenium-enriched garlic onion and broccoli using high-performance ion chromatography with inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry detection. Analytical Communications 33. (1996) 279–281.
 A. Lauchli Selenium in plants: uptake functions and environmental toxicity. Botanica Acta 106. (1993) 455–468.
 J. W. Anderson Selenium interactions in sulphur metabolism. In: L. J. De Kok (ed.) Sulphur nutrition and assimilation in higher plants – regulatory agricultural and environmental aspects. SPB Academic The Netherlands. (1993) 49–60.
 C. F. Quinn C. N. Prins J. L. Freeman A. M. Gross L. J. Hantzis R. J. B. Reynolds S. Yang P. A. Covey G. S. Bañuelos I. J. Pickering E. A. H. Pilon-Smits Selenium accumulation in flowers and its effects on pollination. New Phytologist 192. (2011a) 727–737.
 C. F. Quinn K. Wyant A. L. Wangeline J. Shulman M. L. Galeas J. R. Valdez M. W. Paschke E. A. H. Pilon-Smits Enhanced decomposition of selenium hyperaccumulator litter in a seleniferous habitat – evidence for specialist decomposers. Plant and Soil 341. (2011b) 51–61.
 J. L. Freeman L. H. Zhang M. A. Marcus S. Fakra S. P. McGrath E. A. H. Pilon-Smits Spatial imaging speciation and quantification of selenium in the hyperaccumulator plants Astragalusbisulcatus and Stanleyapinnata. Plant Physiology 142. (2006) 124–134.
 J. L. Freeman M. Tamaoki C. Stushnoff C. F. Quinn J. J. Cappa J. Devonshire S. Fakra M. A. Marcus S. McGrath D. Van Hoewyk E. A. H. Pilon-Smits Molecular mechanisms of selenium tolerance and hyperaccumulation in Stanleyapinnata. Plant Physiology 153. (2010) 1630–1652.
 D. Van Hoewyk G. F. Garifullina A. R. Ackley S. E. Abdel-Ghany M. A. Marcus S. Fakra K. Ishiyama E. Inoue M. Pilon H. Takahashi E. A. H. Pilon-Smits Overexpression of AtCpNifS enhances selenium tolerance and accumulation in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 139. (2005) 1518–1528.
 P. J. White H. C. Bowen B. Marshall M. R. Broadley Extraordinarily high leaf selenium to sulfur ratios define “Se-accumulator” plants. Annals of Botany 100. (2007) 111–118.
 M. L. Galeas L. H. Zhang J. L. Freeman M. Wegner E. A. H. Pilon-Smits Seasonal fluctuations of selenium and sulphur accumulation in selenium hyperaccumulators and related non-accumulators. New Phytologist 173. (2007) 517–525.
 I. Rosenfeld O. A. Beath Selenium. Geobotany biochemistry toxicity and nutrition. Academic Press New York. (1964).
 A. Shrift Selenium compounds in nature and medicine. Metabolism of selenium by plants and microorganisms. In: D. L. Klayma W. H. H. Gunther (eds) Organic selenium compounds: their chemistry and biology. Wiley Interscience New York (1973) 763–814.