SELENIUM IN HIGHER PLANTS.
Plants vary considerably in their physiological response to selenium (Se). Some plant species growing on seleniferous soils are Se tolerant and accumulate very high concentrations of Se (Se accumulators), but most plants are Se nonaccumulators and are Se-sensitive. This review summarizes knowledge of the physiology and biochemistry of both types of plants, particularly with regard to Se uptake and transport, biochemical pathways of assimilation, volatilization and incorporation into proteins, and mechanisms of toxicity and tolerance. Molecular approaches are providing new insights into the role of sulfate transporters and sulfur assimilation enzymes in selenate uptake and metabolism, as well as the question of Se essentiality in plants. Recent advances in our understanding of the plant's ability to metabolize Se into volatile Se forms (phytovolatilization) are discussed, along with the application of phytoremediation for the cleanup of Se contaminated environments.