Biofortification of Ocimum basilicum L. plants with selenium

M. Puccinelli, F. Malorgio, R. Maggini, I. Rosellini, B. Pezzarossa
Sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is an aromatic annual plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family, cultivated and utilized throughout the world. Basil has a culinary value, and pharmaceutical properties. The aromatic oil extracted from its leaves has antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. Selenium (Se) is an essential element for humans, and acts as antioxidant and anticarcinogenic agent. Since healthy nutrient plant compounds are more bioavailable than compounds contained in food supplements, biofortification of fruiting and leafy vegetables with Se is a good way to increase consumption and supplementation of Se by humans. Further, Se appears to be effective in delaying fruit ripening and plant senescence, thus decreasing postharvest losses due to enhanced antioxidation. We investigated the effect of Se addition on production and quality traits of Ocimum basilicum L. 'Tigullio'. Two experiments were conducted on sweet basil seedlings hydroponically grown under greenhouse conditions at rate of 0 (control), 0.5, 1, 2, 4 mg Se L‑1. Selenium was added to the nutrient solution as sodium selenate. In order to evaluate the growth, physiology, and nutritional value of basil plants the following parameters were determined at harvest time: plant biomass, antioxidant capacity, total phenols, rosmarinic acid, nitrate, macro- and micronutrients, total chlorophyll and total carotenoid. Our results showed that the addition of selenium significantly and linearly increased the Se content in basil. In general, selenium did not affect the plant biomass and the quality of product. The amount of Se accumulated in plants could provide the rational Se intake for human nutrition in accordance with the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) guidelines.
Puccinelli, M., Malorgio, F., Maggini, R., Rosellini, I. and Pezzarossa, B. (2019). Biofortification of Ocimum basilicum L. plants with selenium. Acta Hortic. 1242, 663-670
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2019.1242.98
selenate, hydroponics, sweet basil, nutrition, antioxidant

Acta Horticulturae