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Nature. 2014 Jun 5;510(7503):139-42. doi: 10.1038/nature13179. Epub 2014 May 7.

Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition.

Author information

1
1] Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, 02215, USA [2] Harvard University Center for the Environment, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
2
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, 02215, USA.
3
The Department of Geography and Environmental Development, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, PO Box 653, Beer Sheva, Israel.
4
Department of Earth and Planetary Science, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
5
Department of Plant Biology and Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.
6
Department of Plant Sciences, University of California at Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA.
7
University of Pennsylvania, Department of Biology, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.
8
Department of Environment and Primary Industries, Horsham, Victoria 3001, Australia.
9
National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, 305-8604, Japan.
10
Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138, USA.
11
United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Soybean/Maize Germplasm, Pathology, and Genetics Research Unit, Department of Crop Sciences, University of Illinois, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA.
12
School of Plant Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.
13
United States Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Aberdeen, Idaho 83210, USA.
14
The Nature Conservancy, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87544, USA.
15
Department of Agriculture and Food Systems, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, The University of Melbourne, Creswick, Victoria 3363, Australia.
16
Department of Forest and Ecosystem Science, Melbourne School of Land and Environment, The University of Melbourne, Creswick, Victoria 3363, Australia.

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 C3 grains and legumes as their primary dietary source of zinc and iron. Here we report that C3 grains and legumes have lower concentrations of zinc and iron when grown under field conditions at the elevated atmospheric CO2 concentration predicted for the middle of this century. C3 crops other than legumes also have lower concentrations of protein, whereas C4 crops seem to be less affected. Differences between cultivars of a single crop suggest that breeding for decreased sensitivity to atmospheric CO2 concentration could partly address these new challenges to global health.

PMID:
24805231
PMCID:
PMC4810679
DOI:
10.1038/nature13179
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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