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Impacts of elevated atmospheric CO₂ on nutrient content of important food crops.

  • Author(s): Dietterich, Lee H
  • Zanobetti, Antonella
  • Kloog, Itai
  • Huybers, Peter
  • Leakey, Andrew DB
  • Bloom, Arnold J
  • Carlisle, Eli
  • Fernando, Nimesha
  • Fitzgerald, Glenn
  • Hasegawa, Toshihiro
  • Holbrook, N Michele
  • Nelson, Randall L
  • Norton, Robert
  • Ottman, Michael J
  • Raboy, Victor
  • Sakai, Hidemitsu
  • Sartor, Karla A
  • Schwartz, Joel
  • Seneweera, Saman
  • Usui, Yasuhiro
  • Yoshinaga, Satoshi
  • Myers, Samuel S
  • et al.
Abstract

One of the many ways that climate change may affect human health is by altering the nutrient content of food crops. However, previous attempts to study the effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on crop nutrition have been limited by small sample sizes and/or artificial growing conditions. Here we present data from a meta-analysis of the nutritional contents of the edible portions of 41 cultivars of six major crop species grown using free-air CO2 enrichment (FACE) technology to expose crops to ambient and elevated CO2 concentrations in otherwise normal field cultivation conditions. This data, collected across three continents, represents over ten times more data on the nutrient content of crops grown in FACE experiments than was previously available. We expect it to be deeply useful to future studies, such as efforts to understand the impacts of elevated atmospheric CO2 on crop macro- and micronutrient concentrations, or attempts to alleviate harmful effects of these changes for the billions of people who depend on these crops for essential nutrients.

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