Rising CO2 and diminishing food nutrients

The atmosphere is literally changing the food we eat, for the worse. And almost nobody is paying attention.

The great nutrient collapse

The vitamin, mineral, and protein contents of plant foods have been declining over the last 50-70 years, and research is pointing to rising levels of CO2. Plants use higher levels of CO2 to make more sugar and carbohydrates. The decrease in goldenrod protein may also be a factor in bee colony collapse.

David Trammel's picture

Somewhere in the backposts from a few years back, I posted an article which also discussed the fact that plant yields decrease with increases in CO2. This article is much better. Thanks.

If we are going to lose protein to rising levels of CO2, we should probably know which have the most to start with. And which ones we really have to monitor.  It occurs to me that Green Wizards will have to become adept at cross-breeding plants.  It also occurs to me that we might resort to gene modification. If you don't know much about gene editing, try A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Contol Evolution .

It seems a little strange to me that the only other possibility considered in the article, besides increased CO2, was the selection of fast growing breeds.

"In 2004, a landmark study of fruits and vegetables found that everything from protein to calcium, iron and vitamin C had declined significantly across most garden crops since 1950. The researchers concluded this could mostly be explained by the varieties we were choosing to grow."

But how could they not consider the destruction of soil fertility by chemical farming and monocropping as major factors?

In healthy soil, "Crop residues are converted into carbon dioxide, carbonic acid and numerous mild organic acids. These acids, stored in the humus complex, are necessary to convert, chelate, and release soil minerals" http://foliarfert.com/pages/humus.htm

When the humus is destroyed, the minerals are no longer accessible to the plants. The humus is created by a healthy network of microorganisms and fungi - the microbiota. The microbiota is scorched by chemicals and severely disrupted by tilling. Monocropping repeatedly pulls the same nutrients from the soil year after year and I suspect, reduces the biodiversity and resilience of the microbiota.

I agree that fast growing plants will be comparatively empty of nutrients and the CO2 hypothesis is convincing as an additional negative factor, but I find it disturbing that they didn't even mention soil depletion.

Blueberry's picture

Ammonium fertilizers can increase yield but lower food Quality. So the question let people eat bad food or no food at all. Some point in the near Future well you know what is going to happen to about 6 billion people! To understand the soil and NPK might want to read Fertile Soil by Robert Parnes. Original copies sell for $50.00 and up but you can find it on line as a PDF. I consider his book as a must have for anyone trying to grow food for a family. Please download the PDF and print out a copy or two for the Future.