Selenium (Se³⁴₇₉) is a metalloid which is close to sulfur (S) in terms of properties. The Se concentration in soil varies with type, texture and organic matter content of the soil and with rainfall. Its assimilation by plants is influenced by the physico-chemical properties of the soil (redox status, pH and microbial activity). The presence of Se in the atmosphere is linked to natural and anthropogenic activities. Selenoproteins, in which selenium is present as selenocysteine, present an important role in many body functions, such as antioxidant defense and the formation of thyroid hormones. Some selenoprotein metabolites play a role in cancer prevention. In the immune system, selenium stimulates antibody formation and activity of helper T cells, cytotoxic T cells and Natural Killer (NK) cells. The mechanisms of intestinal absorption of selenium differ depending on the chemical form of the element. Selenium is mainly absorbed in the duodenum and caecum by active transport through a sodium pump. The recommended daily intake of selenium varies from 60 μg/day for women, to 70 μg/day for men. In growing ruminants the requirements are estimated at 100 μg/kg dry matter and 200 μg/Kg for pregnant or lactating females. A deficiency can cause reproductive disorders in humans and animals.