The international new data, published in Nature, comes only weeks after another study linked climate change and increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO
“This study is the first to resolve the question of whether rising CO
Myers and his team at multiple varieties of wheat, rice, field peas, soybeans, maize and sorghum grown in fields with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels like those expected in the middle of this century. They raised CO
"When we take all of the FACE experiments we've got around the world, we see that an awful lot of our key crops have lower concentrations of zinc and iron in them (at high CO
The study contributed "more than tenfold more data regarding both the zinc and iron content of the edible portions of crops grown under FACE conditions" than available from previous studies, the team added.
Zinc and iron was reduced significantly in wheat, rice, field peas and soybeans. Wheat and rice also saw notable declines in protein content at higher CO
"Across a diverse set of environments in a number of countries, we see this decrease in quality," Leakey explained.
However, the team also noted that nutrient levels in sorghum and maize remained relatively stable at higher CO
"C4 is sort of a fuel-injected photosynthesis that maize and sorghum and millet have," he said. "Our previous work here at Illinois has shown that their photosynthesis rates are not stimulated by being at elevated CO
He added that more research is needed to determine how crops grown in developing regions of the world will respond to higher atmospheric CO