Effect of sulphur on selenium accumulation and speciation in Nannochloropsis oceanica

Bárbara O. Guimarães*, Belén Villarreal-Toribio, Tamara García-Barrera, Ana Arias-Borrego, Pieter Gremmen, René H. Wijffels, Maria J. Barbosa, Sarah D'Adamo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Sulphur (S) and selenium (Se) are chemically similar. Once Se is taken up, it substitutes S in S-containing amino acids. This study investigated the effect of S on selenite accumulation in the microalga Nannochloropsis oceanica. [0–28 mM] S concentrations and selenite concentrations of 0 and 30 μM were tested. S concentrations of ≤ 3 mM led to decreased cell growth whereas cultures with ≥ 4 mM were not growth limited. Se accumulation increased up to 8-fold when using S ≤ 2 mM and decreased with S 28 mM. The average relative abundance of organic Se species was selenomethionine (SeMet) 98.2 %, selenocystine (SeCys2) 1.4 % and selenomethyl selenocysteine (SeMeSeCys) 0.4 %. Total fatty acids were not affected by S limitation or Se presence. This is the first study on the effect of S on selenite accumulation, organic Se speciation of N. oceanica and its potential as an organic Se-enriched food/feed ingredient.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105215
JournalJournal of Functional Foods
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Aquaculture
  • Chemical similarity
  • Nannochloropsis oceanica
  • Se speciation
  • Selenite
  • Selenium


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