Selenium is an essential mineral element to humans and animals because it is an important component of selenoproteins that are important for functioning of the metabolism. Because of poor soil conditions in various regions of the world, the enrichment of edible plants with selenium via the biofortification strategy has been implemented. However, selenium in the context of plant mineral nutrition appears twofold due to its biofortifying character at low concentrations and toxicity at high concentrations. In this sense, understanding of the functional mechanisms in which selenium is involved is important, ranging from its absorption and assimilation in organic compounds to its beneficial or harmful effects, considering its role in food security and human health. Therefore, this chapter addresses the key aspects related to selenium in the soil-plant-man environment and the narrow limit between biofortification and toxicity, as well as the main scientific findings on this mineral element in the biochemical, physiology and plant nutrition contexts.
Part of the book: Superfood and Functional Food