Document Type


Publication Date



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Division of Animal and Nutritional Sciences


Selenium biofortification of plants has been suggested as a method of enhancing dietary seleniumintake to prevent deficiency and chronic disease in humans, while avoiding toxic levels of intake. Popular herbs such as basil (Ocimum basilicum L.), cilantro (Coriandrum sativum L.), and scallions (Allium fistulosum L.) present an opportunity for biofortification as these plants are used for added flavors to meals and are available as microgreens, young plants with increasing popularity in the consumer marketplace. In this study, basil, cilantro, and scallion microgreens were biofortified with sodium selenate under hydroponic conditions at various selenium concentrations to investigate the effects on yield, selenium content, other mineral contents (i.e., sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, iron, manganese, sulfur, and boron), total phenol content, and antioxidant capacity [oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC)]. The results showed that the selenium content increased significantly at all concentrations, with scallions demonstrating the largest increase. The effects on other minerals varied among herb species. Antioxidant capacity and total phenol content increased in all herbs at the highest selenium treatments, but basil and scallions demonstrated a decreased crop yield. Overall, these biofortified culinary herbmicrogreens are an ideal functional food for enhancing selenium, other dietary minerals, and antioxidants to benefit human health.

Source Citation

Newman RG, Moon Y, Sams CE, Tou JC and Waterland NL (2021) Biofortification of Sodium Selenate Improves Dietary Mineral Contents and Antioxidant Capacity of Culinary Herb Microgreens. Front. Plant Sci. 12:716437. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2021.716437


Copyright © 2021 Newman, Moon, Sams, Tou and Waterland. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

This article received support from the WVU Libraries' Open Access Author Fund.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.