Climate change may make food less nutritious
University of California, Davis Original Study
A field test is the first to show that elevated levels of carbon dioxide inhibit plants’ assimilation of nitrate into proteins, indicating that the nutritional quality of food crops is at risk as climate change intensifies. Findings from the wheat field test study appear online in Nature Climate Change. “Food quality is declining under the rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide that we are experiencing,” says lead author Arnold Bloom, a professor in the department of plant sciences at University of California, Davis. “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,” he says. The assimilation, or processing, of nitrogen plays a key role in the plant’s growth and productivity. In food crops, it is especially important because plants use nitrogen to produce the proteins that are vital for human nutrition. Wheat, in particular, provides nearly one-fourth of all protein in the global human diet.
Many previous laboratory studies had demonstrated that elevated levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide inhibited nitrate assimilation in the leaves of grain and non-legume plants; however there had been no verification of this relationship in field-grown plants. (via Climate change may make food less nutritious | Futurity)