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Areas with high concentrations of selenium in the soil and forage produce beef with enhanced concentrations of selenium.

  • Hintze, K J
  • Lardy, G P
  • Marchello, M J
  • Finley, J W
Published Article
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2001
PMID: 11262072


Beef provides a significant portion of human dietary selenium (Se), and it is possible that modest portions of beef produced in areas with high-Se soil and forage could provide the entire Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for Se. The present study has addressed the environmental conditions that resulted in the production of high-Se beef. One hundred and thirty-eight cull cows were obtained from 21 ranches in five distinct geographic regions that, on the basis of soil parent material, reports of Se deficiency, and previous soil and forage Se surveys, were likely to have high or low Se concentrations in the soil. Grass and soil samples were taken from ranch sites, and hair, whole blood, skeletal muscle, diaphragm muscle, and liver samples were obtained from the animals. Hair and whole blood samples were taken 1 day prior to shipping. Selenium concentrations of all samples were determined by hydride generation atomic absorption spectroscopy. Geographic origin affected Se content of all samples (p < 0.05). Selenium concentrations in soil (r = 0.53; p < 0.01) and grass (r = 0.63; p < 0.01) were correlated to Se content of skeletal muscle. Selenium concentrations in whole blood, diaphragm, hair, and liver also were significantly correlated to Se content of skeletal muscle (p < 0.01). Cows that received Se in mineral supplements did not have significantly higher concentrations of Se in sampled tissues (p > 0.05). Results of this study suggest that the greatest source of variation in Se content of bovine skeletal muscle was the geographic region from which the beef originated and not production or management practices. Results also demonstrated that a 100 g serving of high-Se beef could provide 100% of the RDA for Se.

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