Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Increased ozone concentrations reduce global food production

26.02.2019

The increased concentration of ozone in the atmosphere has reduced crop yields. That is shown in a worldwide study in which University of Gothenburg researchers and others have investigated how tropospheric ozone affects global food production.

The researchers have compiled and analysed worldwide data from field experiments with ozone and scaled up the effects to the global level. The results show that plant uptake of tropospheric (ground-level) ozone sharply reduces the size of harvests.


Wheat.

Photo: Håkan Pleijel.

The most important global crops – wheat, rice, maize and soybeans – are all sensitive to ozone, but ozone also seriously affects other crops. Ozone causes estimated global crop losses of 7 per cent for wheat and as much as 12 per cent for soybeans.

Comparable to parasitic infestations

Tropospheric ozone has a negative impact on crops comparable to parasitic infestations or extreme drought.

“Climate-related effects rightly attract quite a lot of attention, but our study shows that widespread air pollution on a large scale also has a significant effect on global food production,” says Håkan Pleijel, professor of environmental sciences at the University of Gothenburg.

The results also indicate that there are large differences among different regions of the world. Food production is most vulnerable in Asia, especially in China and India.

Traffic is the biggest culprit

Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic substances, such as methane or benzene, account for the current high levels of tropospheric ozone. Industries of various kinds are large sources of emissions, but the main source of pollution is traffic. This points to the importance of reducing traffic and thereby lowering the level of emissions. The climate would also benefit because emissions of ozone-forming substances and carbon dioxide go hand in hand.

“Unfortunately, we do not live in the best of times for reduced emissions. China and India, for example, have a high risk of increased emissions because many more people there are obtaining cars,” says Pleijel.

“Certainly there is a greater awareness today than a few decades ago, but if Asia follows the Western model, there is a risk the positive effects of better technology will be cancelled out by steadily rising consumption and traffic,” says Johan Uddling, professor of plant ecophysiology at the University of Gothenburg.

Strategies for improvement

The best strategy to reduce the problem of ground-level ozone is to strongly reduce the emissions of ozone forming substances. Since this is likely to take time, another strategy for reducing the impact of ozone involves developing more robust crops. A further approach is to change crop management approaches, such as planting or irrigating at the right time in relation to the highest ozone concentrations, thus avoiding excessive ozone uptake by the crops.

“For example, if farmers have good forecasts of ozone peaks, they can refrain from irrigating in connection with them. When plants have plenty of water, the stomata in their leaves are wide open and their uptake of ozone is especially large,” Uddling says.

Previous estimates of how tropospheric ozone affects food production have overestimated
the impact for some regions and underestimated it for others. For Sweden’s part, previous studies have tended to underestimate the negative effects of tropospheric ozone because we have a relatively humid climate.

For dry regions, the effects have been overestimated instead.

“Unlike previous global studies, this new study is based on the actual uptake of ozone rather than only the concentrations in the atmosphere. It is a big step forward,” says Pleijel.

Wissenschaftliche Ansprechpartner:

Håkan Pleijel, professor in the Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences; telephone: +46 (0)31-7862532, mobile: +46 (0)732-018913, e-mail: hakan.pleijel@bioenv.gu.se

Johan Uddling Fredin, professor in the Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences; telephone: +46 (0)31-7863757, mobile: +46 (0)70-3881357, e-mail: johan.uddling@bioenv.gu.se

Originalpublikation:

Global Change Biology published the study titled “Closing the global ozone yield gap: Quantification and cobenefits for multistress tolerance”.

Link to article: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.14381

Weitere Informationen:

https://science.gu.se/english/News/News_detail//increased-ozone-concentrations-r...

Thomas Melin | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation
05.06.2020 | Penn State

nachricht Protecting the Neuronal Architecture
05.06.2020 | Universität Heidelberg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Restoring vision by gene therapy

Latest scientific findings give hope for people with incurable retinal degeneration

Humans rely dominantly on their eyesight. Losing vision means not being able to read, recognize faces or find objects. Macular degeneration is one of the major...

Im Focus: Small Protein, Big Impact

In meningococci, the RNA-binding protein ProQ plays a major role. Together with RNA molecules, it regulates processes that are important for pathogenic properties of the bacteria.

Meningococci are bacteria that can cause life-threatening meningitis and sepsis. These pathogens use a small protein with a large impact: The RNA-binding...

Im Focus: K-State study reveals asymmetry in spin directions of galaxies

Research also suggests the early universe could have been spinning

An analysis of more than 200,000 spiral galaxies has revealed unexpected links between spin directions of galaxies, and the structure formed by these links...

Im Focus: New measurement exacerbates old problem

Two prominent X-ray emission lines of highly charged iron have puzzled astrophysicists for decades: their measured and calculated brightness ratios always disagree. This hinders good determinations of plasma temperatures and densities. New, careful high-precision measurements, together with top-level calculations now exclude all hitherto proposed explanations for this discrepancy, and thus deepen the problem.

Hot astrophysical plasmas fill the intergalactic space, and brightly shine in stellar coronae, active galactic nuclei, and supernova remnants. They contain...

Im Focus: Biotechnology: Triggered by light, a novel way to switch on an enzyme

In living cells, enzymes drive biochemical metabolic processes enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very ability which allows them to be used as catalysts in biotechnology, for example to create chemical products such as pharmaceutics. Researchers now identified an enzyme that, when illuminated with blue light, becomes catalytically active and initiates a reaction that was previously unknown in enzymatics. The study was published in "Nature Communications".

Enzymes: they are the central drivers for biochemical metabolic processes in every living cell, enabling reactions to take place efficiently. It is this very...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Dresden Nexus Conference 2020: Same Time, Virtual Format, Registration Opened

19.05.2020 | Event News

Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium AWK'21 will take place on June 10 and 11, 2021

07.04.2020 | Event News

International Coral Reef Symposium in Bremen Postponed by a Year

06.04.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

New image of a cancer-related enzyme in action helps explain gene regulation

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

Silicon 'neurons' may add a new dimension to computer processors

05.06.2020 | Physics and Astronomy

Protecting the Neuronal Architecture

05.06.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>