Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition

Samuel S. Myers, Antonella Zanobetti, Itai Kloog, Peter Huybers, Andrew D.B. Leakey, Arnold J. Bloom, Eli Carlisle, Lee H. Dietterich, Glenn Fitzgerald, Toshihiro Hasegawa, N. Michele Holbrook, Randall L. Nelson, Michael J. Ottman, Victor Raboy, Hidemitsu Sakai, Karla A. Sartor, Joel Schwartz, Saman Seneweera, Michael Tausz, Yasuhiro Usui

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Abstract

Dietary deficiencies of zinc and iron are a substantial global public health problem. An estimated two billion people suffer these deficiencies, causing a loss of 63 million life-years annually. Most of these people depend on C 3 grains and legumes as their primary dietary source of zinc and iron. Here we report that C 3 grains and legumes have lower concentrations of zinc and iron when grown under field conditions at the elevated atmospheric CO 2 concentration predicted for the middle of this century. C 3 crops other than legumes also have lower concentrations of protein, whereas C 4 crops seem to be less affected. Differences between cultivars of a single crop suggest that breeding for decreased sensitivity to atmospheric CO 2 concentration could partly address these new challenges to global health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-142
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume510
Issue number7503
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014

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    Myers, S. S., Zanobetti, A., Kloog, I., Huybers, P., Leakey, A. D. B., Bloom, A. J., Carlisle, E., Dietterich, L. H., Fitzgerald, G., Hasegawa, T., Holbrook, N. M., Nelson, R. L., Ottman, M. J., Raboy, V., Sakai, H., Sartor, K. A., Schwartz, J., Seneweera, S., Tausz, M., & Usui, Y. (2014). Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition. Nature, 510(7503), 139-142. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature13179