Rice could lose its nutritional value due to rising CO2 levels in the climate. The scientists have found that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere will make rice less nutritious. In a new study released Wednesday, they reported a concern for the health of the billions of people who depend on the crop as their main source of food.
An international research team analyzed rice samples and they discovered that exposing rice to the levels of carbon dioxide that are expected in the second half of this century results in the grain containing less amount of protein, iron, and zinc, as well as lower levels of vitamins B1, B2, B5, and B9.
The research was conducted in Japan and China where they held experiment on 18 different types of the crop between 2010 and 2014. For the research plants were exposed to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations of 568 to 590 parts per million.
The results reveal that the high CO2 concentrations reduced the levels of vitamins B1, B2, B5 and B9 by more than 30%. Besides, the crop’s content of protein, iron, and zinc also declined.
“There’s been studies over the past hundred years for the importance of these B vitamins,” Kristie Ebi, a public health researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle and one of the authors of the study.
“One that declines with higher CO2 concentrations is folate. And we know that folate deficiencies in pregnant women can result in children that have various birth anomalies. So they’re critically important, particularly for maternal and child health, but for all of us.”
Sarah Buscaino is a seasoned journalist with 10 years experience as a reporter and investigative journalist. While studying journalism in Toronto, Sarah got her break as an intern at CITY TV. As a contributor to Island Daily Tribune, Sara covers municipal and provincial politics.