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EU approves new selenium compound for use as a nutritional supplement in animals


Selenium is an essential micronutrient which in the form of selenocysteine in enzymes, plays a key role in the protection of cellular components from oxidant damage, regulates cell redox homeostasis and supports proper immune, reproductive and thyroid functions.  Selenium deficiency is associated with several diseases both for animals and humans. It is linked to an increase risk of diseases associated with aging, such as cognitive decline, loss of muscle strength, cardiovascular diseases as well as cancer. Selenium is derived from the soil and ascends the food chain until ingested by humans. Selenium intake depends on soil selenium content and varies significantly by geographical area. In some regions of Asia where the soil selenium content is very low, deficiencies have been observed which can lead to serious disorders of the heart (Keshan disease), bones (Kashin-Beck disease) or the neuro-muscular system.

The new compound:
Based on a new concept of L-selenomethionine (SeMet) precursor, TETRAHEDRON has designed Se-containing molecules which are proprietary organic compounds . The synthesis process of the basic structure NutraSelen® (THD-177), i.e., D,L-2-hydroxy-4-(methylseleno)butanoic acid (HMSeBA), is simple and cost effective compared to that of SeMet.

Recently it was shown that NutraSelen® can be converted into SeMet, e.g. by yeasts and bacteria. Tetrahedron has patented the novel selenium compound NutraSelen (patent N° FR2873376, US2006105960, WO2006008190)and its associated industrial manufacturing process.

In April 2009, Tetrahedron signed an exclusive global license agreement with Adisseo, a provider of animal nutritional additives and solutions, to use NutraSelen in animal nutrition. Adisseo then took on development of the product under the name of Selisseo. It submitted the market approval application in November 2011. The EFSA (European Food Safety Agency) delivered a favorable opinion in January 2013. The MA was issued by the European Commission in May 2013 for the use of Selisseo in Europe in feed for all species of domestic animals (sheep, cattle, pigs and poultry).

Selisseo is the first proprietary organoselenium-based product to be granted an MA in Europe for use in animal nutrition. The other selenium supplements currently available in this market are inorganic selenium salts and selenium-enriched yeasts. Being an organic Se-species, Selisseo provides a high bioavailability.

“The success of this first industrial project is a mark of credibility for Tetrahedron and demonstrates our ability to lead innovative projects from design through to industrial production,” said Jean-Claude Yadan, president of Tetrahedron. “We are currently seeking a partner to acquire a license in human nutrition for NutraSelen.

Related information

Véronique Vacchina, Marc Moutet, Jean-Claude Yadan, Frédéric de Baene, Bernard Kudla, Ryszard Lobinski, Simultaneous speciation of selenomethionine and 2-hydroxy-4-methylselenobutanoic acid by HPLC–ICP MS in biological samples, J. Chromatogr. B, 878/15–16 (2010) 1178–1180. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2010.03.002

Tetrahedon: NutraSelen
Tetrahedron: Selenium

EFSA: EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to selenium and protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage (ID 277, 283, 286, 1289, 1290, 1291, 1293, 1751) , function of the immune system (ID 278), thyroid function (ID 279, 282, 286, 1289, 1290, 1291, 1293), function of the heart and blood vessels (ID 280), prostate function (ID 284), cognitive function (ID 285) and spermatogenesis (ID 396) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on request from the European Commission. EFSA Journal 2009; 7(9):1220. [24 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2009.1220.

EFSA: EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA); Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of health claims related to selenium and maintenance of normal hair (ID 281), maintenance of normal nails (ID 281), protection against heavy metals (ID 383), maintenance of normal joints (ID 409), maintenance of normal thyroid function (ID 410, 1292), protection of DNA, proteins and lipids from oxidative damage (ID 410, 1292), and maintenance of the normal function of the immune system (ID 1750) pursuant to Article 13(1) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006. EFSA Journal 2010; 8(10):1727. [18 pp.]. doi:10.2903/j.efsa.2010.1727.

Related EVISA Resources

Link Database: Selenium and Animal Health
Link Database: Selenium and Human Health

EVISA News related to Selenium

May 12, 2011: Review: Selenium doesn't prevent cancer
May 3, 2011: New reference materials for the characterisation of selenium-enriched food products
June 19, 2010: A new Selenium-containing compound, Selenoneine, found as the predominant Se-species in the blood of Bluefin Tuna
July 20, 2009: Researchers Reveal Selenium's Metabolism In Life-Giving Amino Acids
October 28, 2008: National Cancer Institute ends Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial, or SELECT
March 16, 2008: New selenium-containing proteins identified in selenium-rich yeast
October 16, 2005: New light on human selenium metabolism
October 6, 2005: Selenomethionine shows promising results as a protective agent against Esophageal Cancer
August 2, 2005: New CRM for Selenomethionine in yeast developed by NRC Canada is now on the market
March 8, 2005: Selenoprotein P is required for normal sperm development


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