Investigation of the effect of selenium on growth, antioxidant capacity and secondary metabolites in Melissa officinalis

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Agricultural Engineering and Technology, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Biology, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran



Melissa officinalis is a plant of Lamiaceae family with medicinal properties which is important for its aromatic, synthetic, and secondary metabolites. The aim of this research was to study the effect of selenium on secondary metabolites and antioxidant properties of Melissa officinalis. For this purpose, an experiment was done in a completely randomized design with four replications. The plants were treated with selenium (0, 0.2., and 5 µM). The experimental factors included root and shoot fresh and dry weights, protein contents, ascorbic acid, enzymes (catalase, ascorbate peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase), peroxide hydrogen, caryophyllene, and caryophyllene oxide. Results showed that application of selenium had positive effects on the wet weight of shoots and roots, dried weight of roots, and ascorbic acid, protein, enzyme (catalase, ascorbate peroxidase), peroxide hydrogen, caryophyllene, and caryophyllene oxide contents of the plants under study (p≤0.05). Also, high concentration of selenium (5 µM) lead to increased z-citral, citral, and geranyl acetate contents of Melissa officinalis essential oils while caryophyllene oxide content increased as a result of low concentration (0.2 µM). Therefore, application of selenium is concluded to play an effective role in increasing secondary metabolites in Melissa officinalis. In general, the study suggests that low concentration of selenium increases the growth of Melissa officinalis plants and improves their growth factors and morphology.


Abdul Jaleel, C., K. Riadh, R. Gopi, P. Manivannan, J. Ines, H.J. Al-Juburi, Z. Chang-Xing, S. Hong-Bo and R. Panneerselvam.2009. 'Antioxidant defense responses: physiological plasticity in higher plants under abiotic constrains'. Acta Physiology Plantrum Journal, 31, 427-436.
Aebi, H. 1984. 'Catalase in vitro'. Method in Enzymology, 105, 121-126.
Akhondzadeh, S., M. Nooroonzian, M. Mohammadi, S. Ohadinia, A. H. Jamshidi and M. Khani. 2003. 'Melissa officinalis extract in the treatment of patient with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial'. Food Protuguense April, 6 (4): 625-632.
Alscher, R. G., N. Erturk and L. S. Heath .2002. 'Role of superoxide dismutase (SOD) in controlling oxidative stress in plants'. Journal of Experimental Botany, 53:1331-1341.
Bodnar, M., P. Konieczka and J. Namiesnik. 2012. 'The properties, functions, and use of selenium compounds in living organisms'. Journal of Environmental Science and Health, Part C, 30, 225-252.
Bradford. M. M. 1976. 'A rapid and sensitive method for the quantitation of microgram quantities of protein utilizing the principle of protein- dye binding'. Analytic Biochemistry, 72(1-2), 248-254.
Chen, T. F., W. J. Zheng, Y. Luo, F. Yang, Y. Bai and F. Tu. 2005. 'Effects of selenium stress on photosynthetic pigment contents and growth of Chlorella vulgaris'. Journal of Plant Physiology and Molecular Biology, 31: 369-373.
Chung, M. J., S. Y. Cho, M. J. Bhuiyan, K. H. Kim and S. J. Lee. 2010. 'Anti-diabetic effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinais) essential oil on glucose and lipid regulating enzymes in type 2 diabetic mice'. British Journal of Nutrition, 104: 180-188.
Djanaguiraman, M., D. D. Devi, A. K. Shanker, A. Sheeba and U. Bangarusamy. 2005. 'Selenium-an antioxidative protectant in soybean during senescence'. Plant and Soil, 272, 77-86.
Evans, W. C. 1996. 'Pharmacognosy'. 14th ed., chapter 21, John Wiley Pub., New York. p: 110.
Han-Wens, S., H. Jing, L. Shu-Xuan and K. Wei-Jun. 2010. 'Protective role of selenium on garlic growth under cadmium stress. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis, 41: 1195-1204.                                                                                                                                  
Feng, R., C. Weic and S. Tu. 2013. 'The roles of selenium in protecting plants against abiotic stresses'. Environmental and Exprimental Botany, 87, 58-68.                                                                  
Fratianni, F., L. De-Martino, A. Melone, V. De-Feo, R. Coppola and F. Nazzaro.2010. 'Preservation of chicken breast meat treated with thyme and balm essential oils'. Journal of Food Science, 75(8), 528-35.
Freeman J.L., Z. Li Hong, A. M. Matthew, F. Sirine, P. M. Steve and E.A. H. Pilon-Smits. 2006. 'Spatial imaging, speciation, and quantification of selenium in the hyper accumulator plants Astragalus bisulcatus and Stanleyapinnata'. Plant Physiology, 142: 124-134.
Freeman, J. L., M. Tamaoki, C. Stushnoff, C. F. Quinn, J.J. Cappa, J. Devonshire, S. C. Fakra, M. A. Marcus, S. P. McGrath, D. V. Hoewyk and E. A. H. Pilon-Smits. 2010. 'Molecular mechanisms of selenium tolerance and hyperaccumulation in Stanleya pinnata'. Plant Physiology, 153(4), 1630-1652.
Gianopolitis, C. N. and S. K. Ries. 1977. 'Superoxide dismutases: Occurrence in higher plants'. Plant Physiology, 59(2): 309-314.
Hartikainen, H., T. Xue and V. Piironen. 2000. 'Selenium as an antioxidant and pro oxidant in Ryegrass'. Plant and Soil, 225: 193-200.
Heidari, F., S. Zehtab-Salmasi, A. Javanshir, H. Aliari and M. R. Dadpoor. 2008. 'The effects of application microelements and plant density on yield and essential oil of peppermint (Mentha piperita L.)'. Iranian Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, 24: 1-9.
Hewitt, E. J. 1966. Sand and water culture methods used in the study of plant nutrition technical communication commonwealth Bureau of Horticulture and plantation crops, East Malling, England.
Hu, K., L. Zhang, J. Wang and Y. You. 2013. 'Influence of selenium on growth, lipid peroxidation and antioxidative enzyme activity in melon (Cucumis melo L.) seedlings under salt stress'. Acta Societatis Botanicorum Poloniae, 82(3): 193-197.
Idrees, M., M. Naeem, T. Aftab and M. M. A. Khan. 2010. 'Salicylic acid mitigates salinity stress by improving antioxidant defense system and enhances vincristine and vinblastine alkaloids production in periwinkle [Catharanthus roseus (L.) G. Don]'. Acta Physiology Plantarum, 33(3): 987-999.
Jana. S. and M. A. Choudhuri. 1981. 'Glycolate metabolism of three subrnerged aquatic angiosperms during aging'. Aquat Bot. 12: 345- 354.
Jithesh, M. N., S. R. Prashanth, K. R. Sivaprakash and A. K. Parida. 2006. 'Antioxidative response mechanisms in halophytes: their role in stress defense'. Journal of Genetics, 85 (3), 237-254.
Khosravi, E., A. Mehrafarin, H. Naghdibadi, R. Hajiabadi and M. Khosravi. 2012. 'The phytochemical response of (Melissa officinalis L.) to foliar application of hydro-alcoholic solutions (methanol and ethanol)'. Journal of Herbal Drugs, 1, 21-25.
Kong, L., M. Wang and D. Bi. 2005. 'Selenium modulates the activities of antioxidant enzymes, osmotic homeostasis and promotes the growth of sorrel seedlings under salt stress'. Plant Growth Regulation, 45, 155-163.
Kumar, M., A. J. Bijo, R. S. Baghel, C.R. K. Reddy and B. Jha. 2012. 'Selenium and spermine alleviates cadmium induced toxicity in the red seaweed Gracilariadura by regulating antioxidant system and DNA methylation'. Plant Physiol. Bioch, 51: 129-138.
Labanowska, M., M. Filek, J. Kościelniak, M. Kurdziel, E. Kuliś and H. Hartikainen. 2012. 'The effects of short-term selenium stress on Polish and Finnish wheat seedlings-EPR, enzymatic and fluorescence studies'. Plant Physiology, 169: 275-284.
Li, H. F., S. P. McGrath and F. J. Zhao. 2008. 'Selenium uptake, translocation and speciation in wheat supplied with selenate or selenite'. New Phytologist Journal, 178: 92-102.
Madaan, N. and V. Mudgal. 2011. 'Phytotoxic effect of selenium on the accessions of wheat and safflower'. Research Journal of Environmental Sciences, 5: 82-87.
Meftahizade, H., M. Lotfi and H, Moradkhani. 2010. 'Optimization of Micropropagation and establishment of cell suspension culture in Melissa officinalis L.' African Journal Biotechnology, 9(28): 4314-4321.
Missana, T., U. Alonso and M. García-Gutiérrez.2009. 'Experimental study and modeling of selenite sorption onto illite and smectite clays.' Journal of Colloid Interface Science, 334:132-138.
Munshi, C. B., G. F. Combs and N. I. Mondy. 1990. 'Effect of selenium on the nitrogenous constituents of the potato'. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 38, 2000-2002.
Nakano, Y. and K. Asada. 1981. 'Hydrogen peroxide is scavenged by ascorbate specific peroxides in spinach chloroplast'. Plat cell physiology, 22: 867-880.
Nowak, J., K. kaklewski and M.  Ligocki. 2004. 'Influence of selenium on oxidoreductive enzymes activity in soil and in plants'. Soil Biology and Biochemistry Journal, 36: 1553-1558.
Pino, J. A., A. Rosado and V. Fuentes. 1999. 'Composition of essential oil of Melissa officinalis L. from Cuba'. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 11: 363-364.
Rayman, M. P. 2008. 'Food chain selenium and human health: emphasis on intake'. British Journal of Nutrition, 100, 254-268.
Renkema, H., A. Koopmans, L. Kersbergen, J. Kikkert, B. Hale and E.  Berkelaar. 2012. 'The effect of transpiration on selenium uptake and mobility in durum wheat and spring canola'. Plant and Soil, 354: 239-250.
Rios, B., Blansco, L. M., M. A.  Cervilla, E.  Rosales, L. Sanchez-Rodriguez, J. M. Romero and S. Ruiz. 2009. 'Production and detoxification of H2O2 in lettuce plants exposed to selenium'. Annals of Applied Biology, 154: 107-116.
Saidi, I., Y. Chtourou and W. Djebali. 2014. 'Selenium alleviates cadmium toxicity by preventing oxidative stress in sunflower (Helianthus annuus) seedlings'. Journal of Plant Physiology, 171: 85-91.
SarmadNia, G. H. and A. Koocheki. 1992. 'Physiological aspects of dryland farming'. Jahad Daneshghi of Mashhad, pp. 10-20.
Sors, T. G., D. R. Ellis and D. E. Salt. 2005. 'Selenium uptake, translocation, assimilation and metabolic fate plants'. Photosynthesis Research, 86, 373-389.
Tailin, X., H. Hartikainen and V. Piironen. 2001. 'Antioxidative and growth-promoting effect of selenium on senescing Lettuce'. Plant and Soil,237,55-61.
Terry, N., A. M. Zayed, M. P. De Souza and A. S. Tarun. 2000. 'Selenium in higher plants'. Ann Rev Plant Physiol Plant Mol Biol, 51, 401-432.
Tinmaz, A. B., A. Gökkuş, K. Çetin and S. S. Erdoğan.2001. 'Determining of the volatile oil content and drug herbage yield of lemon  balm (Melissa officinalis L.) applied different harvesting time and planting distances grown in the Çanakkale ecological conditions'. Proceedings of the Workshop on Agricultural and Quality Aspects of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. May 29- June 01, Adana, pp. 197-202.
Turakainen, M., H. Hartikainen and M. M. Seppänen. 2004. 'Effects of selenium treatments on potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) growth and concentrations of soluble sugars and starch'. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 52: 5378-5382.
Wu, Z., G. S. Bañuelos, Z. Q. Lin, Y.  Liu, L. Yuan, X. Yin and M. Li. 2015. 'Biofortification and phytoremediation of selenium in China'. Frontiers in Plant Science, 6, 136
Xue, T. L., H. Hartikainen and V. Piironen. 2001. 'Antioxidative and growth-promoting effects of selenium on senescing lettuce'. Plant Soil, 273, 55-61.
Yassen, A., A. Safia, M. Adam and S. M. Zaghloul. 2011. 'Impact of nitrogen fertilizer and foliar spray of selenium on growth, yield and chemical constituents of potato plants'. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, 5(11): 1296-1303.
Youcef, M., H. Jean-Luc, I. Louis and D. Isabelle. 2013. 'Selenium in the environment, Metabolism and Involvement in Body Functions'. Molecules, 18: 3292-3311.
Zhao, C., J. Ren, C. Xue and E. Lin. 2005. 'Study on the relationship between soil selenium and plant selenium uptake'. Plant and Soil, 277, 197-206.