Arsenic (As) and selenium (Se) are two metalloids found in the environment. As it poses a significant threat to human health and plant growth due to its prevalence and toxicity, however Se is a required micronutrient for human health. In this study hydroponic experiments were performed to investigate whether endogenous Se can mitigate As toxicity in rice (Oryza sativa
L.). We found that As uptake by rice roots increased by pretreatment with selenateSe(VI) or selenite Se(IV). However, co-application of arsenate As(V) or arsenite As(III) with selenate markedly reduced the uptake of As by roots. Co- or pretreatment with Se with five µM of As(V) or one µM of As(III) significantly decreased shoot As content. Conversely, Se pretreatment before the addition of five µM of As(III) or one µM of As(V) resulted in As accumulation in the shoot compared to As and Se co-application. As translocation to the shoot was lower whereas the transfer factor was higher upon the simultaneous application of Se and As compared to Se pretreatment. Se supplementation with As(III) or pretreatment increased antioxidant enzymes: Superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and peroxidase (POD) increased in the root and shoot, but decreased glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA) contents in the shoot. Plants under As(V) treatment showed the same trend except that CAT content decreased in the root and shoot, while MDA content increased in the shoot. These results suggest that cultivating rice in the presence of Se can reduce the accumulation of toxic As in seedlings, thus ensuring the safety of this important crop for human consumption.
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