Rising carbon levels robbing crops of vital nutrients

Dec 11, 2018, 6:48 AM EST
(Source: Brandon Giesbrecht/flickr)
(Source: Brandon Giesbrecht/flickr)

Plants use atmospheric carbon dioxide to carry out photosynthesis and, in the process, produce our nutritious food. New studies point out that rising carbon levels in the air are robbing the crops of vital nutrients, including protein, zinc, and iron, which are essential for human growth and development.

A recent experiment found that the concentration of nutrients in wheat, maize, soybeans and field peas dropped sizably when exposed to carbon dioxide levels expected in 2050, notes Scientific American.

Agricultural scientists call excess carbon dioxide as “junk food” for plants, which feed on it to grow bulkier and faster but at the expense of their nutrient-density. The change in the nutrient concentration of the crops could breed zinc deficiency in more than 175 million people by the middle of the century while another 122 million may develop protein deficiency, notes reports The Guardian.