Agriculture: Less nutrients in crops due to high CO2 levels

Emissions on the planet CO2 are at too high levels and a recent studio showed that this also has an impact on crops. The work, published in Trends in Plant Sciencehas, in fact, proved that in many plants the concentration of nutrients decreases and tried to understand the cause of the phenomenon. Now it’s time to worry consequences for humanity and ecosystems.

I study

To investigate how high levels of CO2 could damage crops, a team from the Institute for Plant Science in Montpellier thought about it. Plants use carbon dioxide, along with sunlight and water, to grow photosynthesis. Some time ago it was believed that an increase in the concentration of CO2 in the environment favorisse, therefore, vegetables, but today it is clear that this is not the case. In fact, with photosynthesis, plants produce sugarsbut not i minerals, which are absorbed through the roots. Through a job of revision of studies based on data collection and on the execution of experiments, the new work has proved that in vegetables exposed to significant levels of emissions, the concentration of the latter decreases. The phenomenon also affects crops essential for the sustenance allegedly.

CO2 and crops

Scientists have investigated the phenomenon, looking for its causes. Thus they were considered 4 hypotheses. They assumed, first, that the decrease in nutrients was due to an increase in biomass or a partial closure/obstruction of the stoma. The team then looked at causes of the malfunctions genetics that prevent reactions that transform nitrates into usable nitrogen in protein synthesis or that affect the mechanisms of absorption. The work defines dynamics as the result of a concurrence of factors, but gives the latter two scenarios more weight. What worries experts, however, is the fact that high levels of CO2 lead to the development of crops in which the quantities of nitrogen, phosphorus and iron appear to be reduced even by 30%.

The consequences

The fact that high levels of CO2 in the environment are able to influence the amount of nutrients contained in crops appears significant. Mineral-poor vegetables are a problem for humans ecosystemsas they alter the balance of the food chain. The risk is, then, the triggering of a vicious circle. Plants lacking the necessary nutrients could, in fact, seize less carbon dioxide and that would fuel the global warming. What is at risk, then, is the system feeding. In developing countries the population, already forced into one diet low in protein, it could collide with further deficiencies. Furthermore, 2 billion people in the world today suffer from a lack of ferro and the data appear destined to get worse.

Understand how levels of CO2 affect the concentration of nutrients within crops should be considered a priority. Scientists are ready to continue in the Researchhoping to find solutions. L’genetic engineering appears to be a resource not to be overlooked. Experts warn, however, that a decrease in emissions it represents the only effective long-term strategy.

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