How rising CO2 levels can affect plants

How rising CO2 levels can affect plants

A recent article published by the NY Times, “How More Carbon Dioxide Can Make Food Less Nutritious” explores how rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere affect the nutritional content of cash crops. Dr. Ziska of the USDA co-authored the study looking into quality rather than quantity of our food supply.  He and his colleagues studied experimental rice fields in China and Japan that had elevated levels of CO2 representative of expected levels to occur later this century. Most of the 18 varieties grown had significantly lower levels of protein, iron, and zinc. In the developing world, rice provides 70% of calorie intake, and a more diverse diet would be necessary to recoup the lost nutrient value of the rice. More studies are needed to fully understand the complexity of this phenomenon.