The Great Nutrient Collapse

The Great Nutrient Collapse.

This interesting article casts a warning shadow over the continual degradation of the nutritional value of our food supply given the current level of our enriched CO2 world. Mineral malnutrition stemming from undiversified plant-based diets is a top global challenge. In C3 plants (3 carbon atoms plant life,e.g., rice, wheat), elevated concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (eCO2) reduce protein and nitrogen concentrations, and can increase the total non-structural carbohydrates (TNC; mainly starch, sugars). However, contradictory findings have obscured the effect of eCO2 on the ionome—the mineral and trace-element composition—of plants. Consequently, CO2-induced shifts in plant quality have been ignored in the estimation of the impact of global change on humans. This study shows that eCO2 reduces the overall mineral concentrations (−8%, 95% confidence interval: −9.1 to −6.9, p<0.00001) and increases non-structural carbohydrates (TNC:minerals > carbon:minerals) in C3 plants. The meta-analysis of 7761 observations, including 2264 observations at state of the art Free Air CO2 Enrichment centers, covers 130 species/cultivars. The attained statistical power reveals that the shift is systemic and global. Its potential to exacerbate the prevalence of ‘hidden hunger’ and obesity is discussed. Credit: Irakli Loladze published paper Hidden Shift of the Ionome of Plants Exposed to Elevated CO2 Depletes Minerals at the Base of Human Nutrition.

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