Soil-type influences human selenium status and underlies widespread selenium deficiency risks in Malawi

Hurst, Rachel and Siyame, Edwin W.P. and Young, Scott D. and Chilimba, Allan D.C. and Joy, Edward J.M. and Black, Colin R. and Ander, E. Louise and Watts, Michael J. and Chilima, Benson and Gondwe, Jellita and Kang’ombe, Dalitso and Stein, Alexander J. and Fairweather-Tait, Susan J. and Gibson, Rosalind S. and Kalimbira, Alexander A. and Broadley, Martin R. (2013) Soil-type influences human selenium status and underlies widespread selenium deficiency risks in Malawi. Scientific Reports, 3 (1425). ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Selenium (Se) is an essential human micronutrient with critical roles in immune functioning and antioxidant defence. Estimates of dietary Se intakes and status are scarce for Africa although crop surveys indicate deficiency is probably widespread in Malawi. Here we show that Se deficiency is likely endemic in Malawi based on the Se status of adults consuming food from contrasting soil types. These data are consistent with food balance sheets and composition tables revealing that >80% of the Malawi population is at risk of dietary Se inadequacy. Risk of dietary Se inadequacy is >60% in seven other countries in Southern Africa, and 22% across Africa as a whole. Given that most Malawi soils cannot supply sufficient Se to crops

for adequate human nutrition, the cost and benefits of interventions to alleviate Se deficiency should be

determined; for example, Se-enriched nitrogen fertilisers could be adopted as in Finland.

Item Type: Article
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham UK Campus > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1038/srep01425
Depositing User: Grogan, Mrs Jane
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2014 12:12
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 21:23
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/2782

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