Global warming may have 'devastating' effects on rice

Carbon dioxide saps rice of much of its nutritional content

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.

"Rice is not just a major source of calories, but also proteins and vitamins for many people in developing countries and for poorer communities within developed countries", Kobayashi explained. The findings were based on field studies in Japan and China, simulating the amount of Carbon dioxide expected in the atmosphere by the second half of this century - 568 to 590 parts per million.

It was observed that on average, protein content fell 10.3%, iron dropped eight percent, while the zinc content was reduced by 5.1%, compared to rice grown today under current Carbon dioxide conditions.

The nine rice assortments from China, from three years' yields and broke down in their grungy dark colored shape, contrasted in the level of vitamin misfortune.

Researchers analyzed a total of 18 different varieties of rice for protein, iron, and zinc levels. The people most likely to feel the consequences of reduced nutritional support - and these include impaired cognitive development, a feebler immune system, obesity and diabetes - are likely to be those who are poorest. Where rice forms a staple part of daily diet.

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. By and large, B1 levels fell by 17.1 %; B2 levels by 16.6 %; B5 by12.7 % and B9 (folate) by 30.3 %.

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On average, protein content fell 10.3 percent, iron dropped eight percent and zinc was reduced by 5.1 percent, compared to rice grown today under current Carbon dioxide conditions. Vitamin B5, or pantothenic acid levels, were down more than 12%. It analyzed how different concentrations of Carbon dioxide affects rice, resulting in a plant with less nutritious values.

As global temperatures rise in response to ever greater levels of Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, harvests of all the staple cereals could in any case decline - sometimes as a response to ever wilder extremes of heat, rain and windstorm - by between 20 and 40%. "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.

Up to a billion people in the world are what bureaucrats politely call "food insecure".

The climate change may have detrimental effect on the health of rice-consuming countries.

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.

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