In the not so distant future rising carbon dioxide levels could drain many of the world's most important foods of their key nutritional value new research suggests.
The warning published in Nature stems from a review of the latest data on global CO2 levels. The investigators caution that global industrialization will continue to push carbon dioxide levels up. And as levels rise much of the iron, zinc, and protein currently found in such basic crops as rice, wheat, and soybeans may decline, according to the researchers.
For example the researchers found that wheat grains grown at higher CO2 levels contained nearly 9% less zinc and 5% less iron. Higher CO2 was also correlated with less protein - up to nearly 8% less.
The hardest hit: citizens of less-developed nations, where nearly 2 billion people rely on staple crops for much of their dietary iron and zinc and where vitamin deficiency is already a major cause of disease and death.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV, with the latest breakthroughs from the world of medicine.