Rice will lose nutritional value as carbon dioxide levels rise

Rice will lose nutritional value as carbon dioxide levels rise

Rice will lose nutritional value as carbon dioxide levels rise

Scientists have found that rice grown at higher levels of carbon dioxide has an overall lower nutritional value. For people who depend heavily on rice as a staple in their diets, such a nutritional loss would be devastating, says Kristie Ebi, a professor at the University of Washington and an author on the study.

This is concerning to the 10 countries that rely heavily on rice as their main source of food and nutrition, and scientists don't know exactly why Carbon dioxide reduces plant nutrients.

CO2 levels in the atmosphere keep increasing, as they reached a record high in April, and since this greenhouse gas helps plants grows, its radically changing the nutrient content in food crops.

For the experiments, scientists built 17-metre-wide octagons in Japanese and Chinese rice paddies that pumped carbon dioxide to simulate the kind of CO2 concentrations expected in the next 50 years (568-590 parts per million). It is somewhere signaling bad news for the about two billion people whose primary food source is rice. More malnutrition may occur in countries that depend on it for energy and protein. Aside from energy-rich carbohydrates, grains feed us protein, zinc, iron and essential B vitamins.

The new study evaluated 18 types of commonly grown rice to see impact of the levels of carbon dioxide.


The consequences for wheat are tied to rising temperatures, but with rice, the immediate issue appears to be the growing concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. 7 percent. B9 levels (folate) saw the largest drop, declining by 30.3 percent.

Scientists from China, Japan, the USA and Australia report in the journal Science Advances that they began their research, using what they call the technique of free air carbon dioxide enrichment, in 1998, to recreate what they expect to be the conditions under which farmers will grow crops a few decades from now.

The reasons for the changes have to do with how higher Carbon dioxide affects the plant's structure and growth, increasing carbohydrate content and reducing protein and minerals, said the study. "So they're critically important, particularly for maternal and child health, but for all of us".

Rice accounts for "approximately 25 percent of all global calories", according to the study, which was published in the journal Science Advances. There has already been concern about the impact of higher levels of carbon dioxide on protein in potatoes, maize and other cereals. Plants that share the same photosynthesis pathway as rice and wheat do indeed grow larger and produce greater yields in higher carbon dioxide concentrations by creating more carbohydrates, says Lisa Ainsworth, a biologist at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign and the U.S. Department of. That knowledge gives researchers an opportunity, given enough funding, to breed climate change-resistant strains of rice.

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