Selecting Lentil Accessions for Global Selenium Biofortification
The biofortification of lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus.) has the potential to provide adequate daily selenium (Se) to human diets. The objectives of this study were to (1) determine how low-dose Se fertilizer application at germination affects seedling biomass, antioxidant activity, and Se uptake of 26 cultivated lentil genotypes; and (2) quantify the seed Se concentration of 191 lentil wild accessions grown in Terbol, Lebanon. A germination study was conducted with two Se treatments [0 (control) and 30 kg of Se/ha] with three replicates. A separate field study was conducted in Lebanon for wild accessions without Se fertilizer. Among cultivated lentil accessions, PI533690 and PI533693 showed >100% biomass increase vs. controls. Se addition significantly increased seedling Se uptake, with the greatest uptake (6.2 µg g−1) by PI320937 and the least uptake (1.1 µg g−1) by W627780. Seed Se concentrations of wild accessions ranged from 0 to 2.5 µg g−1; accessions originating from Syria (0–2.5 µg g−1) and Turkey (0–2.4 µg g−1) had the highest seed Se. Frequency distribution analysis revealed that seed Se for 63% of accessions was between 0.25 and 0.75 µg g−1, and thus a single 50 g serving of lentil has the potential to provide adequate dietary Se (20–60% of daily recommended daily allowance). As such, Se application during plant growth for certain lentil genotypes grown in low Se soils may be a sustainable Se biofortification solution to increase seed Se concentration. Incorporating a diverse panel of lentil wild germplasm into Se biofortification programs will increase genetic diversity for effective genetic mapping for increased lentil seed Se nutrition and plant productivity.