Selenization of basil and cilantro through foliar applications of selenate-Se and selenite-Se
Kopsell, D. A., C. E. Sams, T. C. Barickman, D. E. Deyton, and D. E. Kopsell.  2009.  HortScience, 44(2):438-442.

Selenium (Se) is an essential mammalian micronutrient. Adult humans have a daily requirement of 55 to 70 mg/day Se depending on sex and pregnancy/lactation for females. In addition, recent studies have shown health benefits with dietary Se supplementation of 100 to 200 mg/day Se. However, daily intakes in humans greater than 900 mg Se will result in toxicity called selenosis. Although not essential in plant nutrition, some species can bioaccumulate Se. Brassica and Allium species became prime candidates for Se enrichment because of their ability to accumulate and tolerate high concentrations of Se in edible tissues; however, there is now concern that these species are too efficient at selenization and overconsumption of their selenized tissues could result in selenosis. Herbal crop species are consumed regularly in the diet for their culinary flavor attributes. Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) and cilantro (Coridandrum sativum L.) are not classified as Se accumulators. Therefore, a study was undertaken to determine the potential to selenize basil and cilantro through foliar Se applications to consistently supplement diets with nutritionally beneficial levels of Se. Plants of each species were grown in both growth chamber and field environments and treated with foliar applications (5 mL per plant) of selenate-Se and selenite-Se at concentrations of 0, 2, 4, 8, 16, and 32 mg/L Se. Crops received three separate foliar applications at 5-day intervals beginning 24 to 28 days after planting for the growth chamber plants and 50 days after planning for the field environment. Selenium accumulation in both basil and cilantro leaf tissues increased linearly under both selenate-Se (P < 0.001) and selenite-Se (P < 0.001) foliar treatments in growth chamber and field evaluations. Maximum Se leaf tissue concentrations for basil and cilantro ranged from 13 to 55 mg/g Se dry weight. Selenization of basil and cilantro is possible through foliar Se applications, and Se fortification of herbal crops may provide alternative delivery systems in human diets.