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Selenium is a non-essential element with beneficial and toxic effects on plants, whose exact role in plant physiology leaves many unanswered questions. Various species of hydroponically grown plants produce defined selenium nano particles (SeNP) with a narrow size distribution and about 2 million selenium atoms by biosynthesis when being exposed to selenite, proving that green synthesis of SeNP is not only possible in plants extracts, but also in living organisms. The detection was performed with single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. These results require a new view of the selenium biochemistry in plants and its impact on nutrition, food sciences and medicine. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the synthesis of elemental nanoparticles in general and selenium nanoparticles in particular by living plants.


Jonas Verstegen, Klaus Günther. Biosynthesis of nano selenium in plants. Artificial cells, nanomedicine, and biotechnology. 2023 Dec;51(1):13-21

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PMID: 36629585

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