Rice (Oryza sativa) is the staple food for half of the world's population, but the selenium (Se) concentrations in rice grain are low in many rice-growing regions. This study investigated the effects of water management on the Se speciation dynamics in the soil solution and Se uptake and speciation in rice in a pot experiment. A control containing no Se or 0.5 mg kg(-1) of soil of selenite or selenate was added to the soil, and plants were grown under aerobic or flooded conditions. Flooding soil increased soluble Se concentration when no Se or selenite was added to the soil, but decreased it markedly when selenate was added. Selenate was the main species in the +selenate treatment, whereas selenite and selenomethionine selenium oxide were detected in the flooded soil solutions of the control and +selenite treatments. Grain Se concentration was 49% higher in the flooded than in the aerobic treatments without Se addition. In contrast, when selenate or selenite was added, the aerobically grown rice contained 25- and 2-fold, respectively, more Se in grain than the anaerobically grown rice. Analysis of Se in rice grain using enzymatic hydrolysis followed by HPLC-ICP-MS and in situ X-ray absorption near-edge structure (XANES) showed selenomethionine to be the predominant Se species. The study showed that selenate addition to aerobic soil was the most effective way to increase Se concentration in rice grain.