Submitted to: Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2011
Publication Date: 3/1/2011
Citation: Thavarajah, D., Thavarajah, P., Sarker, A., Materne, M., Vandemark, G.J., Shrestha, R., Idrissi, O., Hacikamiloglu, O., Bucak, B., Vandenberg, A. 2011. A global survey of effects of genotype and environment on selenium concentration in lentils (Lens culinaris L.): Implications for nutritional fortification strategies. Food Chemistry. 125:72-76. Interpretive Summary: Lentils are an important protein and carbohydrate food, rich in essential dietary components and trace elements. Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient for human health. Health benefits conferred through Se intake are associated with the prevention of cancer, heart disease, free radical induced diseases, and protection against HIV infection, which causes AIDS, and heavy metal poisoning. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of Se is 55 µg per day, and millions of people globally have diets that are deficient in Se. Our objective was to test lentils grown in several locations throughout the world for levels of Se. The highest concentrations of Se were found in lentils grown in Canada (425-672 µg/kg), Nepal (180 µg/kg) and southern Australia (148 µg/kg). The lowest Se concentrations were found in lentils grown in Turkey (47 µg/kg), Morocco (28 µg/kg), the northwestern USA (26 µg/kg) and from Syria (22 µg/kg). The amount of Se found in lentils was directly related to the amount of Se found in the soil in which the lentils were grown. Future experiments will include examining if the amount of Se in lentils can be increased by applying fertilizer containing Se to field plots prior to planting.
Technical Abstract: Lentils (Lens culinaris L.) are an important protein and carbohydrate food, rich in essential dietary components and trace elements. Selenium (Se) is an essential micronutrient for human health. For adults, 55 µg of daily Se intake is recommended for better health and cancer prevention. Millions of people around the world have Se-deficient diets and biofortification may be an effective solution. We analyzed the total Se concentration of lentils grown in six major lentil-producing countries to determine the potential for Se biofortification in these regions. The highest mean Se concentrations based on location means were found in lentils from Nepal (180 µg/kg) and southern Australia (148 µg/kg) while the lowest were those from Syria (22 µg/kg), Morocco (28 µg/kg), northwestern USA (26 µg/kg), and Turkey (47 µg/kg). Significant location effects within a country were observed for Nepal and Australia. All values were lower than previous published data for Saskatchewan grown lentils (425-672 µg/kg). Lentils originating from Australia, Nepal, or Canada could be considered good sources of Se, as consumption of 50 g would provide 13-61% of the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). Our findings indicate lentil may be appropriate as a target crop for Se biofortification and investigated as a food-based solution for populations with Se deficiencies.