Connect with us

Environment

Higher Levels of Carbon Dioxide Make Rice Less Nutritious

Burning fossil fuels affects more than just the climate.

Published

on

As 2.4 billion pounds per second of carbon dioxide is pouring into the atmosphere, essential nutrients found in rice, such as protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins, are all dropping, posing a threat to the 2 billion people who depend on this food source everyday.

So we’re not just changing the climate by burning fossil fuels, we’re also changing the food we eat, according to a study in Science Advances.

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.

“Earlier studies have found that staples like barley and potatoes have seen their carbohydrate levels go up and protein content go down as CO2 levels have ticked upward. And experiments show that as CO2 emissions continue to rise, critical nutrients will decline further, even as we harvest more beans, grains, and seeds,” according to Vox.

As of today, 1 billion people are tagged food-insecure, or lacking a reliable food source, and 795 million are malnourished, and these numbers will only increase if essential foods stop providing basic nutrition.

In the new study, scientists exposed rice to higher CO2 concentrations and found an average of 10.3% drop in protein, 8% drop in iron, 5.1% drop in iron, 12.7% drop in B5 vitamin levels and a 30% drop in B9 vitamin levels among all tested varieties.

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 CO2 reduces plant nutrients.

“We have a firm possibility of a definite maybe of several things. It’s not a one-size-fits-all explanation,” said Lewis Ziska, a research plant physiologist at the US Department of Agriculture and a co-author of the new study.

Some possibilities include that the CO2 takes the place of other nutrients, diminishing the need for them, or that as crops produce more grains the nutrients are in turn diluted, or the fact that CO2 causes the plant’s stomates, pores in plant leaves, to close, changing the water flow and potentially affecting how water-soluble nutrients react.

But all hope is not lost; there are already some potential solutions to the future problem, ranging from varying diets to engineering crops.

Are you looking for digital journalism training and experience? Are you a journalism major who wants to take your career to the next level? CMN’s Digital Journalism course gives you real-time experience, intense feedback on your writing, exposure to journalism influencers and mentors, and a great place to display your work. You can get academic credit too. Check out the Digital Journalism Course here.

Gigi Foster is a student at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She's a midfielder on the women's soccer team and is studying ocean sciences.

Sign up for the Morning Scoop

and wake up with us each day.

CMN Reports

Government2 weeks ago

New Year, New Laws for 2019

New year means new laws.

by , The Catholic American University
Equality2 weeks ago

Nancy Pelosi Elected Speaker of the House

Democrats continued to control the House on Thursday by electing Nancy Pelosi who returned to be the first woman to...

by , Mercy College
Government2 weeks ago

The House to Approve Legislation of Reopening of the Government

Late Thursday night, the new Democratic House passed bills that would reopen the government without paying for Trump’s border wall....

by , Mercy College
Government2 weeks ago

Elizabeth Warren Announces She is Running for President in 2020

On New Years Eve, Senator Elizabeth Warren, (D) Massachusetts, announced that she will become a candidate to enter the 2020...

by , Mercy College
Government3 weeks ago

Senator Elizabeth Warren Wants to Create a Public Option for Generic Drugs

The Massachusetts senator wants to take on big pharma.

by , The Catholic American University
Art1 month ago

Movie Review: Alfonso Cuarón’s ‘Roma’

The Mexican director's latest reflects the modern state of the human experience.

by , The Catholic American University
Environment1 month ago

California Mandates All New Public Transit Buses Go Electric by 2029

The Golden State wants their buses more greener on the roads.

by , The Catholic American University
Government1 month ago

New York Governor Cuomo Pushes for Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in 2019

Today, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that he will be pushing to legalize recreational marijuana in 2019, according to...

by , Mercy College

Top Reads