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Study explores CO2 crop impacts

A field study to gauge the potential impacts of climate change on crops found that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could diminish the plantings' nutritional value.

Published on April 8, 2014 1:08PM

DAVIS, Calif. — Results from a recent field study suggest that anticipated increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could diminish the nutritional quality of food crops.

To gauge the potential impact of climate change on crops, carbon dioxide-enriched air was released in wheat fields near Phoenix, Ariz., in the late 1990s and scientists have been examining leaf material harvested from the test plots.

Recently a research team led by University of California-Davis plant sciences professor Arnold Bloom was able to conduct chemical analyses that were not available at the time the experimental wheat plants were harvested, according to a university news release.

The researchers found that the elevated level of atmospheric carbon dioxide had inhibited nitrate assimilation into protein in the field-grown wheat, the release reported.

Findings from the study were published in the journal Nature Climate Change.


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