Keywords: Antioxidants, Fertilisation, Food quality, Selenium defiency, Selenium.
In Finland the soils are extremely low in bioavailable selenium (Se). In the early 1980s the relation between low selenium intake and health made selenium an issue of prime public interest, because all domestic agricultural products were reported to be very low in selenium. The problem has been solved by supplementing all multinutrient fertilisers with sodium selenate since 1984. This operation effectively increased the selenium concentrations in all Finnish foods, and as a result the average daily intake increased to an adequate level. The fertilisation practice was found to be safe, because the plants acted as effective buffers against too high selenium concentrations. Recently it has been shown that at appropriate levels of addition selenium exerts beneficial effects on plants, promoting their growth. It increases their antioxidative capacity and enables greater resistance to senescence, as well as an improved defence against external oxidative stress induced by high-energy UV light.
HelinÃƒÂ¤ Hartikainen and PÃƒÂ¤ivi Ekholm, Department of Applied Chemistry and Microbiology,University of Helsinki, Finland.
16 pages, 4 figures, 4 tables, 37 refs.