If you haven’t already, read part 1 before you continue.

To explain it’s varying effects one has to know a bit about the selenium assimilation, metabolism, and chemistry within the plant (I promise I’ll be brief).  As previously mentioned, selenium closely resembles its atomic cousin sulfur, and often competes with it for uptake at the root zone.  Selenium uptake drastically degreases with high sulfate supply however.  Sulfur is primarily responsible for the volatile components of the Brassicaceae family (cabbage, mustard, bok choy, broccoli, horseradish, wasabi and brussels sprouts to name a few).  The names are less important, but what is important is the fact that a higher sulfur supply does produce a qualitatively more flavorful vegetable, yielding more aroma and a spicier mouth-feel. But where does selenium fit into all of this?

We all love vegetables, stir fried, boiled, blanched or fresh from the market. Sadly, not all flowering cultivars share our passion, and some outright refuse to be consumed.  Evolutionary speaking, herbivores and predation limit your chances of survival, and are generally considered undesirable.  So how do you prevent an unsuspecting deer or bison from devouring your precious leafs or worse yet flowers? Well, you best make sure that they have the worst dinner of their lives!  By accumulating toxic levels of selenium, plants are able to produce noxious volatile compounds that may word off hungry customers.  And if that does not keep the hungry hippos at bay, a good dose of selenium is sure to turn any predator temporarily lethargic, make them wonder aimlessly in hopes of something bigger coming along in the meantime to consume them.  An enemy of your enemy is your friend, right?

With all that said, next time your kids complain about brussels sprouts being “gross and yukky,” perhaps that’s just the vegetables talking? I on the other hand, love mine roasted with a bit of garlic and butter, selenium on the side…

We here at Growing Society hope you’ve enjoyed learning about Selenium and thank you for tolerating our sarcasm. 🙂
Let us know if you have any questions or concerns or photos you’d like to share!

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