• carrier;
  • channel/ inhibitor;
  • ion transport;
  • Michaelis-Menten kinetics


In selenite solutions, H2SeO3, HSeOequation image, and SeO<$>_3^{2-}<$> are in equilibrium in proportions that vary with solution pH. The physiological characteristics of selenite uptake were studied with excised roots of maize (Zea mays L.) seedlings at pH 3.0, 5.0, and 8.0. The results showed that 0.10 mM 2,4-dinitrophenol (DNP), 1.0 mM sodium fluoride (NaF), and a temperature of 4°C inhibited selenite uptake by maize roots by 16%, 20%, and 23% at pH 3.0, by up to 80%, 79%, and 78% at pH 5.0, and by 5%, 9%, and 16% at pH 8.0. Hence, selenite may enter roots at pH 5.0 in an energy-dependent manner, in contrast to pH 3.0 and 8.0. The uptake kinetics for selenite were determined for excised roots of maize, and the curves were linear at pH 3.0 and 8.0, but saturated at pH 5.0, showing that carrier-mediated uptake of selenite occurred at pH 5.0, but not at pH 3.0 or 8.0. Further studies showed that HgCl2 and AgNO3 inhibited selenite uptake separately by 81% and 76% at pH 3.0 and indicated that selenite was absorbed by maize roots through aquaporins at pH 3.0. At pH 8.0, anion-channel inhibitors only inhibited a small fraction of selenite uptake, indicating that the major absorption pathway of SeO<$>_3^{2-}<$> species into roots was not absorbed passively through anion channels, but might involve other processes. According to these results, it is proposed that selenite uptake occurs via different mechanisms depending on its species in solution in response to pH levels.