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The Role of Selenium in Agricultural Productivity

Discover the crucial role of selenium in enhancing agricultural productivity, plant immunity, and stress resistance, and its impacts on soil health.

Table of Contents

Selenium proved to be an essential trace micronutrient for plant growth that improves the immune system of plants and provides protection against environmental stresses. The right amount of selenium in the soil is important to improve the plant’s fertility and productivity.

In this article, I will share the roles and importance of selenium fertilizers in agriculture and how they improve plant productivity. Besides this, it includes the analysis of selenium amounts in soil and plants and their deficiency and overdose impacts on the plants.

Sources of Selenium for Plants

Selenium is mainly present within the inorganic content of the soil. Naturally, the alfalfa is also useful for providing the right selenium content to the plants. Besides this, various plant parts, along with selenium, are also used to provide nutrients to plants. Majorly selenium is found in animal tissues. These contain high amounts of selenium that can be provided to the plants by Using poultry manure. These particles are also naturally available in the depth and core of the soil. 

Application Ways for Selenium Fertilizers

Application Ways for Selenium Fertilizers

These fertilizers can be added through the Liquid form. These are sprayed directly on the surface of the plant stem and leaves. Besides this, the best way to use selenium fertilizers is by providing it directly into the soil. These can be directly sprayed near the plants as well. For these reasons, they provide the maximum absorption of selenium within the soil. All of these Applications are useful and safe additions for the plants. 

Major Roles of Selenium Fertilizers in Agriculture and Plant Productivity

Selenium is an important element that makes plants healthy and develops the main plant structures. The major roles of selenium are in agricultural growth and productivity. 

  • It acts as an Antioxidant

To protect the plants and deal with the plant toxin’s selenium within the soil, the plant acts as an antioxidant to provide maximum protection against toxic components.

  • Improves Plant Growth and Development

For healthy plant growth, there’s a need to add selenium to the soil. As the plant matures, it requires nutrition and growth promoters to develop plant parts. This nutrition and the nutrients are ready to improve the plant’s health and act as a plant development booster. 

  • Photosynthesis

It plays an important role in the maintenance of the photosynthesis process. The selenium protectively prevents the structure of chlorophyll in the plants. Besides this, they also increase the number of photosynthetic pigments within the plant body.

  • Provide Resistance Against Pathogens

Most of the healthy plants have undergone various effects on their body due to the presence of pathogens. The selenium elements provide the plant’s protection against various harmful pathogens. It protects the plants against beetles, caterpillars, rootflies, crickets, etc. 

  • Maintenance of Soil PH

The presence of selenium was also found to compensate for the negative impacts of high pH on the plants. They help protect the plants against PH and maintain a healthy range of PH for the plant. 

  • Protection Against Environmental Stress

Selenium is an element whose presence within the plant parts can introduce resistance in plants against various environmental stress conditions. These provide this protection in case of heavy metals, drought Conditions, salinity, and high temperature. It activates the plant’s immune response against various environmental impacts. It makes the plant able to deal with these conditions. Besides this, it also helps the plant deal with environmental contaminants and dry, hot, wet, and cold conditions.

  • Grain Yield

Selenium is an important element that increases the production rate in plants. They improve the grains’ quality and enhance the overall grain yield. However, the high selenium concentrations can also disturb the grain yield.

Impact of Selenium on Agricultural Soil

Impact of Selenium on Agricultural Soil

Plants can easily uptake the selenium from the soil. Selenium is also an important element. Within the feces, its presence within the soil is effective for the plants. Their presence within the soil improves the concentrations of other nutrients for plants. It protects the roots of the soil from the pathogens. It builds up the healthy plant associations of the microorganisms and plant roots. 

Plants with High Amounts of Selenium

Many plants require too much selenium for their growth. However, these plants are also observable with their high selenium concentrations. Following are the plants in which you can find relatively high amounts of selenium that are:

  • Wholegrains
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Asparagus
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cabbage
  • Tofu
  • Sesame seeds
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

Maximum Limit Of Selenium in Soil

The deficiency or overdose of any element in the soil is problematic for plant growth. It’s good to add selenium to the soil, but you should ensure that you add the right quantity. The content of the selenium and its requirements change with the type of soil. However, the most available soil selenium concentration is  0.125 to 0.3 mg kg−1. According to the research, the maximum limit for selenium in the soil is 100 ppm.

Selenium Deficiency and Overdose Impacts on Plants

You must proceed with the right quantity of selenium in the soil to impact the play positively. At this moment, I am going to share the major effects of selenium deficiency and Overdose effects on plants that are as follows:

Selenium Deficiency Impacts on Plants

  • If low amounts of selenium are available for the plants, then they will not develop their plant parts and other tissues.
  • It reduces the overall production rate of the grains. It not only reduces the yield but it can also impact on the health of plants. 
  • Plants will be exposed to environmental stress, and their immune system will be unable to deal with these sudden changes. 
  • It affects the reproductive system of the plants. 
  • Continuous deficiency of selenium in plants introduces a disturbance in the plant metabolism system. 

Selenium Overdose Impact on the Plants

  • The overdose of selenium can affect the plant life. It reduces the plant’s age, leaving heavy chemical impacts on the plant life.
  • Adding too much selenium to the plants will impact the plant’s health and introduce the poisonous selenium in the plants.
  • At high concentrations, they promote and accumulate lipid peroxidation within the soil. 
  • Continuous overdose of the selenium elements will distort the structures of proteins within the plant cell.


High Amounts of Selenium

Selenium is the main element that introduces the protection and healthy impacts on the life of plants. They play their role in the stressed conditions. That’s why if you want to grow plants with a healthy immune system, then selenium is a must to add elements to the soil. These are proven to be effective elements to deal with oxidative plant stress. Besides this, they are essential for promoting photosynthesis in plants. They improve the production rate as well. The plants with selenium deficiency seem more affected by the environmental conditions. This analysis clearly shows the strong impact of selenium on plant life. 

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