Abstract In recent years there has been growing interest in selenium (Se) as an important micronutrient not only for animals and humans but also for plants. In particular, its protective effect in plants exposed to stress conditions has been suggested. In spite of many studies, the mechanism of Se action is not fully understood. In this review, possible ways of interaction of Se with stress factors leading to optimal growth and development of plants are presented. As the majority of experiments have focused on the effects of Se application under stress conditions induced by heavy metals, special attention is paid to the results obtained in such studies. Changes of physiological and biochemical properties of plant cells, with particular regard to the influence of Se on the activation of enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants under this stress, are summarized. Experiments in which Se was used in some other environmental stresses (drought, UV, cold and high temperature) are also cited. On the basis of the presented literature it is suggested that a positive effect of Se depends on both its doses and on chosen plant genotypes and is mainly connected with activation of antioxidative defense in plant cells.
Abstract The fern Platycerium bifurcatum is a valuable component of the flora of tropical forests, where degradation of local ecosystems and changes in lighting conditions occur due to the increasing anthropogenic pressure. In ferns, phytochrome mechanism responsible for the response to changes in the value of R/FR differs from the mechanism observed in spermatophytes. This study analyzed the course of ontogenesis of nest leaves in P. bifurcatum at two values of the R/FR ratio, corresponding to shadow conditions (low R/FR) and intense insolation (high R/FR). The work used only non-destructive research analysis, such as measurements of reflectance of radiation from the leaves, their blue-green and red fluorescence, and the chlorophyll a fluorescence kinetics. This allowed tracing the development and aging processes in the same leaves. Nest leaves are characterized by short, intense growth and rapid senescence. The study identified four stages of development of the studied leaves related to morphological and anatomical structure and changing photochemical efficiency of PSII. Under the high R/FR ratio, the rate of ontogenesis of the leaf lamina was much slower than under the low R/FR value. As shown, the rapid aging of the leaves was correlated with faster decline of the chlorophyll content. It was shown that leaf senescence was accompanied by accumulation of polyphenols, anthocyanins and carotenoids on the basis of reflectance and fluorescence measurements in the blue-green range.