Updated: Apr 6
Just finished my dissertation! Selenium biofortification is a topic I became immensely passionate about once I realised how many people around the world are unknowingly depriving themselves of such an important nutrient. In the UK we're lucky enough to have unlimited access to food supplements, and yet there are still plenty of people who are below the recommended daily allowance in a whole range of important nutrients. Selenium biofortification looks to help bridge the gap in 'hidden hunger', by fortifying crops with Selenium. It also has a range of interesting affects on plants for horticultural application.
Selenium (Se) is a natural metalloid element available throughout the earth’s crust. It is an essential nutrient to mammals and animals and is primarily nutritionally attained through eating plants which accumulate it. Some plants can accumulate more Se than other plants, and high concentrations of Se can be toxic to all organisms. Throughout the world, soils are becoming Se deficient and this is resulting in nutritional Se deficiency which causes a wide range of serious illnesses. To counteract Se deficiency, biofortification has become a necessity in some countries. This has been shown to have a range of other benefits outside of the nutritional spectrum, providing abiotic stress tolerance to plants as well as natural defence against herbivory. Se biofortification could therefore play a role in combating abiotic stresses associated with climate change, as well as resistance to pests, whilst nutritionally fortifying crops.
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