A NEW study has shown that increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere could lead to lower levels of proteins in plants.
This could have major impacts on crops, and have a significant impact on the world’s poorest, who often rely on crops such as wheat, rice and sorghum for protein in their diet.
The research, published in the journal, Global Change Biology, monitored wheat, sorghum and rice grown in open air conditions which mimicked the effect of increased levels of CO2, similar to those expected in the future.
It found that whilst some plants did grow faster when exposed to increased CO2, their nutritional value was affected. Scientists monitored the amount of nitrogen – a proxy for protein – in the plants grown in a series of independent experiments in countries including the US, Germany, Italy, China and New Zealand. The results showed that the increased CO2 levels led to reduced levels of nitrogen (protein) in the plants.