Distribution of free seleno-amino acids in plant tissue of Melilotus indica L. grown in selenium-laden soils.Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 1998 Mar; 39(3):207-14.EE
Accumulation of specific groups of seleno-amino acids in plant tissue reflects not only the Se tolerance of a plant species, but also Se toxicity to animals. The distribution of seleno-amino acids in a Se-tolerant grassland legume species (Melilotus indica L.) grown in Se-laden soils was studied using high-resolution gas chromatography- and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Five seleno-amino acids including selenocystine, selenomethionine, selenocysteine, Se-methylselenocysteine, and gamma-glutamyl-Se-methylselenocysteine were identified and measured for their plant tissue concentrations. Se-methylselenocysteine, a nonprotein seleno-amino acid, was found in the plant tissue. Its concentration ranged from 15.3 mumol kg-1 for the plants growing in soil of low Se concentration to 109.8 mumol kg-1 for the plants grown in soil of high Se concentration. Accumulation of the nonprotein seleno-amino acid in this species resembles that in Se accumulator plants. gamma-Glutamyl-Se-methylselenocysteine was detected in the plant. However, its concentration was very low. It might not become a toxic element in the food chain. Results of plant tissue Se accumulation analysis indicated that there was a five-fold increase in tissue selenocysteine concentration when the total tissue Se increased from 5.07 to 22.02 mg kg-1, but there was no further increase in tissue selenocysteine concentration when the tissue total Se concentration increased from 22.0 to 117.4 mg kg-1. Selenomethinone constituted more than 50% of the total seleno-amino acid in the plant. More research is needed to reveal whether the mechanisms limiting the accumulation of selenocysteine and preferential accumulation of selenomethionine found in this study play any role in Se tolerance in this species.