SUMMARY: Sodium selenite is toxic in low concentration to salmonellas as well as to other enterobacteria. The ability of salmonellas to grow in selenite broth appears to be due to binding of selenite by constituents of peptone (e.g. peptides). Reduction of selenite takes place after growth is established and the intensity of reduction is related to the profuseness of growth. The presence of a fermentable carbohydrate favours growth and intensity of selenite reduction. Many organisms, however, die as a result of the reducing conditions. Organisms differ in their ability to use different sulphur sources; there was evidence that cystine and pentathionate as highly preferred sulphur sources may be of special significance. Sodium selenite reacts with certain inorganic sulphur compounds to form seleno-polythionates. It is believed that the selectivity of selenite broth may be due to the presence of seleno-polythionates or other seleno-sulphur compounds which act as growth-inhibitory analogues of highly preferred sulphur sources.


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