Allocation of selenium (Se) in lettuce and its impact on root morphology were studied to better understand the growth responses of plants to added Se. Lettuce was grown in vermiculite under controlled growing conditions for seven weeks, and the allocation in the shoots and roots of selenate added in increasing dosages (0, 1, 10, 100, 500 and 1000 µg Se per 3.5-litre pot) as well as morphological variables of the roots were determined. The intermediate additions of 100 and 500 µg Se per pot seemed to produce the highest biomasses, although this was nearly masked by large scatter in the data. The Se contents both in roots and shoots increased roughly proportionally to the amount of Se added. However, at small additions Se was preferentially allocated to roots, whereas at larger additions the contents in roots and shoots (mg kg-1 dry matter) were roughly equal. Se treatments did not change the morphology of hypocotyls. On the contrary, the specific length and area of basal and lateral roots were smallest at intermediate Se additions, whereas the specific volume was largest at the largest Se addition. These effects of Se on root morphology were, however, not unambiguously related to plant growth. As the Se contents in roots increased, the roots grew thicker and the specific volume of lateral roots increased in agreement with a hypothesis of increased endogenous ethylene production.;
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