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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01495

Combating Micronutrient Deficiency and Enhancing Food Functional Quality Through Selenium Fortification of Select Lettuce Genotypes Grown in a Closed Soilless System

  • 1University of Naples Federico II, Italy
  • 2Agricultural Research Insitute (Cyprus), Cyprus
  • 3Università degli Studi della Tuscia, Italy
  • 4Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Italy

Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element for human nutrition and a key component of selenoproteins having fundamental biological and nutraceutical functions. We currently examined lettuce biofortification with Se in an open-gas-exchange growth chamber using closed soilless cultivation for delivering Se-rich food. Morphometric traits, minerals, phenolic acids and carotenoids of two differently pigmented Salanova cultivars were evaluated in response to six Se concentrations (0 - 40 μM) delivered as sodium selenate in the nutrient solution. All treatments reduced green lettuce fresh yield slightly (9%), while decrease in red lettuce was observed only at 32 and 40 μM Se (11% and 21% respectively). Leaf Se content increased in both cultivars, with the red accumulating 57% more Se than the green. At 16 μM Se all detected phenolic acids increased, moreover a substantial increase in anthocyanins (184%) was recorded in red Salanova. Selenium applications slightly reduced the carotenoids content of green Salanova, whereas in red Salanova treated with 32 μM Se violaxanthin + neoxanthin, lutein and β-cryptoxanthin spiked by 38.6%, 27.4% and 23.1%, respectively. Lettuce constitutes an ideal target crop for selenium biofortification and closed soilless cultivation comprises an effective tool for producing Se-enriched foods of high nutraceutical value.

Keywords: Anthocyanins, Carotenoids profile, Hydroponics, Lactuca sativa L., Mineral composition, nutrient solution management, phenolic acids, Sodium selenate

Received: 20 Jun 2019; Accepted: 28 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Pannico, El Nakhel, Kyriacou, Giordano, STAZI, De Pascale and Rouphael. 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.

* Correspondence: Dr. Youssef Rouphael, University of Naples Federico II, Agricultural Sciences, Naples, 80055, Campania, Italy, joerouphael@yahoo.com