Opinion: Too much CO2 slows plant growth, spells trouble for crops and the human food chain – Digital Journal


Farmer Sergiy Lioubarsky wonders how on earth he will manage to harvest his crops – Copyright AFP CHANDAN KHANNA

All that CO2 in the atmosphere is causing some very grim findings. Research from France’s National Center for Scientific Research is explaining the problems, and the first word has four letters; diet.

The plants are not taking up as many nutrients specifically because there is too much CO2. That includes rice and wheat, and means the diet is affected by less protein. Samples taken a century ago have higher levels of nutrients.

In effect, this means that the food “before” was Really better and more nutritious. Without these nutrients, you might as well be eating cardboard, and it would be just as nutritious. Since the overall quality of food is questionable at best these days, you’re not only eating junk, you’re also getting less value out of it.

Dietary deficiencies are not good for humans. They can lead to any number of medical conditions. They can also explain common problems like lack of power; you try to be good and watch your diet, but your diet can’t deliver. fun, huh? It might also explain why the western world is such a big medical clinic, wouldn’t it?

On the other hand, what if the accepted and rarely questioned metrics for diet information are now wrong or become less accurate? Those figures may have been correct 60 years ago, but is it so now?

The mechanism of nutrient loss is simple but deadly:

  • Plants absorb less nitrogen in a CO2-rich environment.
  • The lack of nitrogen means that plants form less protein, up to 20 to 30 percent less.
  • Iron absorption is also affected. It is estimated that 2 billion people worldwide are currently affected by iron deficiency. Iron is essential for a variety of metabolic processes, including respiration.

In the last 60 years, CO2 levels have increased by almost 30%. On the current trajectory, given that CO2 increases are about 100 times faster than natural increases, farmers could also be growing cardboard by 2050 or so.

In a nutshell, the problem is this:

In hydroponics, can increase nitrogen levels quite easily. Just add nitrogen fertilizer. …But that can’t work on important crops. You couldn’t do that easily or quickly in a large monoculture environment.

You could use nitrogen-fixing plants like legumes to supplement plant diets, but at the scale of the human food chain, again, it’s not easy and it depends on whether the plants They are capable to absorb nitrogen. What if they can’t?

So it’s really a matter of the horse being able to drink the water. The physiological disturbances caused by suffocating levels of CO2 are not yet well understood.

There was no problem, and now there is a potential catastrophe. A 30% reduction in nutrients means people would have to eat more to get the food they need, in a very challenging environment with a compromised water supply. Drought and other factors do not help agriculture.

What are the options?

There are some unavoidable theoretical options to fix this:

  1. Improve nitrogen availability by any means possible, perhaps a catalyst to improve absorption. That means research time and additional costs for growers.
  2. Design food crops to manage higher levels of CO2. At least the issue of handling higher levels of CO2 would be explored.
  3. A combination of the first two points is the minimum solution to all the issues raised. Someone will have to pay for it, and that someone is you.

This is a life-threatening problem. If your staple foods are 30% less nutritious, how do you make up the shortfall? Now would be a good time to find out.


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