It’s no secret that selenium is an essential micronutrient for people and animals — but what about plants? Explore how selenium bio-fortification is transforming agriculture one crop at a time.
Professor, Federal University of Lavras
Dr. Luiz Roberto Guimarães Guilherme is an agronomist and a professor of soil chemistry and environmental toxicology in the department of soil science at the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA) in Brazil.
Dr. Guilherme’s research is currently focused on trace elements in agro-ecosystems and mining areas — two subjects of major social, economic and environmental importance in his home state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Some of his recent work has also addressed food security, with a special emphasis on food quality and safety in relation to trace minerals in agro-ecosystems.
Previously, Dr. Guilherme's research has focused on increasing fertilizer use efficiency for better agricultural productivity. This work has had a direct effect on improving the soil fertility, crop yields and economic sustainability of Brazilian agriculture.
In 2015, Dr. Guilherme began collaborating closely with the HarvestPlus Program, coordinating the third and fourth phases of the HarvestZinc Project in Brazil. The HarvestZinc Project is an important initiative aimed at studying the efficacy of fertilizer and its potential ability to help alleviate micronutrient deficiencies, with a special focus on zinc, selenium and iron. This project has the potential to positively impact human health on a global scale, especially in developing countries. Additionally, Dr. Guilherme’s work studying the impact of selenium-enriched fertilizers on plant nutrition and food quality influenced recent legislation regulating selenium in Brazilian fertilizers.
Dr. Guilherme is a permanent member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. He received a master's degree in soil science and plant nutrition from the Escola de Ciências Agrárias at UFLA and a dual doctoral degree in crop and soil science and environmental toxicology from Michigan State University. He has spent sabbatical leaves at the University of California Riverside and at INRA d'Orléans, France
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