Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Can Cd content in crops be controlled by Se fertilization? A meta-analysis and outline of Cd sequestration mechanisms

Affholder, Marie-Cecile; Flohr, Adam; Kirchmann, Holger


Aim Cadmium mitigation in crops is a worldwide concern. Selenium application has been suggested as a potential solution to reduce cadmium concentration in plants, but published results were contradictory. We analysed literature data with respect to the effect of selenium addition on cadmium uptake and elucidated processes possibly involved.Method A meta-analysis was performed on data collected from previously published studies presenting cadmium concentration in plants subjected to selenium treatments. Metaregression random models were run to test the impact of different factors. In addition, soil and crop inventory data exemplifying the natural variation of Cd and Se in soil were evaluated.Results The results highlighted a significant reduction of cadmium concentration in crops after selenium addition. The reduction was dose-dependent for crops growing under aerobic, but not for plants cultivated under anoxic conditions such as rice. This suggests that different process can be involved.Conclusion We demonstrated the potential of selenium fertilization to mitigate cadmium uptake and highlighted that for non-rice species, the main process seems to take place in the soil, while mechanisms in roots restricting uptake may be involved for all crops. The inventory data also indicated an impact of natural soil Se on Cd contents in crops.


Cadmium-selenium interaction; Metaregression; Shoots; Roots; Redox potential; Selenite; Selenate

Published in

Plant and Soil
2019, Volume: 440, number: 1-2, pages: 369-380

      SLU Authors

      • UKÄ Subject classification

        Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
        Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
        Environmental Sciences

        Publication identifier


        Permanent link to this page (URI)