Plant and Soil

, Volume 354, Issue 1–2, pp 239–250 | Cite as

The effect of transpiration on selenium uptake and mobility in durum wheat and spring canola

  • Heidi Renkema
  • Amy Koopmans
  • Leanne Kersbergen
  • Julie Kikkert
  • Beverley Hale
  • Edward Berkelaar
Regular Article



The objective of this study was to determine the relative importance of transpirational pull, Se speciation, sulfate and species on Se accumulation by plants, in order to determine which of these factors must be considered in the future development of models to predict Se accumulation by plants.


Seedlings of durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. var durum cv ‘Kyle’) and spring canola (Brassica napus L. var Hyola 401) were grown hydroponically and exposed to SeO 4 2- (selenate) with or without SO 4 2- (sulfate), or to HSeO 3 - (biselenite) under different transpiration regimes altered through ‘low’ (~50%) or ‘high’ (~78%) relative humidity (RH). Plants were harvested after 0, 8, 16, or 24 h exposures, digested, and analyzed for Se by GFAAS.


Accumulation and distribution of Se by plants is dependent on plant species, Se speciation in the nutrient solution, SO 4 2- competition, and transpiration regimes. Canola accumulated and translocated more Se than wheat. In wheat and canola, the greatest accumulation and translocation of Se occurred when plants were exposed to SeO 4 2- without SO 4 2- compared to solutions of SeO 4 2- with SO 4 2- or HSeO 3 2- . Wheat plants exposed to SeO 4 2- and SO 4 2- had an increased Se accumulation and translocation under increased transpiration rates than when exposed to SeO 4 2- without SO 4 2- or HSeO 3 2- . On the other hand, increases in transpiration increased the translocation of Se to canola shoots when exposed to HSeO 3 - more than any other treatments.


Overall, our results suggest that plant species is the most important factor influencing Se accumulation and translocation, but that these endpoints can be modified by climate and specific soil Se or S content. Models to predict accumulation of Se by plants must consider all of these factors to accurately calculate the mechanisms of uptake and translocation.


Brassica Element distribution Ion accumulation Trace element Translocation Triticum 



biselenite the form of selenite prevalent at pH 6.0


dry matter


high density polyethylene


photosynthetically active radiation


relative humidity (%)


sum of all possible species of selenium






translocation factor


translocation stream concentration factor



The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the NSERC MITHE-SN (Metals in the Human Environment Strategic Network) and NSERC for the funding of this project. A full list of MITHE-SN sponsors is available at:


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi Renkema
    • 1
  • Amy Koopmans
    • 2
  • Leanne Kersbergen
    • 2
  • Julie Kikkert
    • 1
  • Beverley Hale
    • 1
  • Edward Berkelaar
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Environmental SciencesUniversity of GuelphGuelphCanada
  2. 2.Department of Environmental ScienceRedeemer University CollegeHamiltonCanada

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