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Distribution and translocation of selenium from soil to highland barley in the Tibetan Plateau Kashin-Beck disease area

Wang, Jing, Li, Hairong, Yang, Linsheng, Li, Yonghua, Wei, Binggan, Yu, Jiangping, Feng, Fujian
Environmental geochemistry and health 2017 v.39 no.1 pp. 221-229
barley, crops, humans, pH, people, selenium, soil, soil organic matter, staple foods, straw, China
Kashin–Beck disease (KBD), which is still active and severe in the Tibetan Plateau, is considered to be a kind of selenium (Se)-deficient disease. Highland barley as the most popular staple food in the Tibetan Plateau is one of the dominant Se sources for local people. To improve Se levels in crops in the Tibetan Plateau KBD area, the distribution and translocation of Se from soil to highland barley in both non-KBD and KBD endemic areas were investigated. The results showed that Se levels in highland barley were too low to meet the minimum requirements of human for daily intake of Se. The total Se concentrations of highland barley fractions in KBD areas were lower than that in non-KBD areas (grain P = 0.238; straw P = 0.087; root P = 0.008). However, no significant difference was observed in corresponding cultivated soil Se between the two areas (P = 0.993). The calculation of Se transfer factors indicated that the restricting step for Se translocation was from soil to root. Water-soluble, exchangeable and fulvic acid-bound Se fractions in the soil are key species dominating in this transfer process, according to their significant correlations with root Se. Se transfer from soil to root significantly increases as the pH value of soil increases (P = 0.007), and soil organic matter content decreases (P = 0.019). The information obtained may have considerable significance for proposing effective agricultural measures to increase grain Se in KBD endemic areas.