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Rising atmospheric CO2 lowers nutrient content in crops

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robert99 robert99 Sweden Posts: 1360
1 9 Jan 2016
http://www.zmescience.com/ecology/environmental-issues/rising-co2-affects-crop-quality-432432/
Trying to understand the overall effect of climate change on our food supply can be difficult. Increases in temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) can be beneficial for some crops in some places, but overall changing climate patterns lead to frequent droughts and floods that put a severe strain on yields. It’s not all about production, however. Researchers at  University of California, Davis found that rising CO2 levels are inhibits plants’ ability to assimilate nitrates into nutrients, altering their quality for the worse. Our whole food chain relies on the proteins found in plants, whose energy we assimilate directly or from animals that eat the same plants. Consequently, crop quality in the face of global warming is an aspect that needs to be thoughtfully addressed.

“Food quality is declining under the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide that we are experiencing,” said the study’s lead author Arnold Bloom. “Several explanations for this decline have been put forward, but this is the first study to demonstrate that elevated carbon dioxide inhibits the conversion of nitrate into protein in a field-grown crop.”

Food crops use nitrogen to produce the proteins that are vital for human nutrition. Nitrogen is the mineral element that plants and other living organisms require in the greatest quantity to survive and grow. Plants obtain most of their nitrogen from the soil and, in the moderate climates of the United States, absorb most of it through their roots in the form of nitrate. In plant tissues, those compounds are assimilated into organic nitrogen compounds, which have a major influence on the plant’s growth and productivity.
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