The effects of selenium supplementation in feeding of lambs

J. Molnár*, A. Macpherson, P. Molnár

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Selenium is an essential trace element for both man and animals whose dietary intake is not sufficient in many parts of the world Some countries with an originally low dietary selenium intake have instituted fertilisation programmes in order to raise cereal selenium concentrations and thus boost dietary intakes. An alternative approach to improve the daily dietary selenium intake would be to increase the selenium concentration of carcass meat by supplementation of meat animals for a limited period prior to slaughter. Thus, animal diseases related to selenium deficiency can also be prevented. Sixteen Scottish Blackface laribs were stratified according to liveweight and then randomly allocated to one of four groups: unsupplemented, 3.5, 7.0 or 10.5mg sodium selenite/head/week. After 14 weeks the lambs were slaughtered and samples of shoulder and thigh muscle, liver and kidney were obtained for analysis. All three treatments caused an increase in whole blood glutathion peroxidasc and plasma selenium concentrations over controls. Shoulder, thigh and liver selenium concentration exhibited a dose response relationship to treatment. Kidney selenium concentrations were unaffected by treatment. As it is well documented that selenium and vitamin E play a complementary role as antioxidants, plasma vitamin E concentrations were also determined at the beginning, in the middle and at the end of the experiment. They showed a continuous decline probably due to the low dietary vitamin E intake of the lambs during the trial. Tissue vitamin E concentrations were largely unaffected by the dose of selenium supplementation. It can be concluded that supplementation of meat animals with selenium is an effective means to increase human dietary intakes of the element.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-179
Number of pages13
JournalActa Alimentaria
Issue number2
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Jun 1998


  • Glutathione peroxidase
  • Human dietary intake
  • Lambs
  • Selenium
  • Selenium supplementation


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