Mimosine, a non-protein plant amino acid found in Mimosa pudica and certain species of Leucaena, was beneficial for the growth of seedlings of Vigna radiata germinated under selenium-deficient stressed condition (-Se stressed) despite the recognized toxicity of the allelochemical. Exposure of mimosine at 0.1 mM (Mim-0.1) promoted the growth of the seedlings and significantly enhanced mitochondrial functional efficiency. Growth-related parameters including root and shoot lengths and dry weight were increased by 44-58% in the Mim-0.1 group compared to that of the -Se-stressed group. Oxygen uptake by mitochondria of Mim-0.1 group, studied with different substrates, revealed enhanced State 3 respiratory rates with regulated State 4 rates, resulting in high respiratory control ratio (RCR) of 3.4 to 3.9 indicative of a high degree of oxidative coupling. Specific activities of mitochondrial electron transport enzymes, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (reduced form) (NADH)-cytochrome (cyt) c oxidoreductase, succinate dehydrogenase, and cyt c oxidase in the Mim-0.1 group were enhanced by 53% to threefold over those of the Se-stressed group. Marked decreases in the extent of mitochondrial lipid peroxidation ensued upon mimosine exposure, indicative of its antioxidant function. Mitochondrial 45Ca2+ uptake was notably augmented twofold in the Mim-0.1 group, compared to the Se-stressed group. Detailed kinetic analyses of Ca 2+ uptake revealed positive cooperative interactions in both -Se-stressed group and Mim-0.1 groups with Hill coefficient (nH) values of 1.7 and 2, respectively. The present study establishes the beneficial effects of mimosine exposure at 0.1 mM on the growth and mitochondrial function of the seedlings grown under selenium-deficient stressed condition and a significant physiological role can be ascribed to mimosine. © Humana Press Inc. 2007.