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Author Topic: The great nutrient collapse - CO2 is changing nutrient ratios in our food  (Read 992 times)

Rita

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Article on Politico
http://www.politico.com/agenda/story/2017/09/13/food-nutrients-carbon-dioxide-000511

A few excerpts:


"Zooplankton are microscopic animals that float in the world’s oceans and lakes, and for food they rely on algae, which are essentially tiny plants. Scientists found that they could make algae grow faster by shining more light onto them—increasing the food supply for the zooplankton, which should have flourished. But it didn’t work out that way. When the researchers shined more light on the algae, the algae grew faster, and the tiny animals had lots and lots to eat—but at a certain point they started struggling to survive. This was a paradox. More food should lead to more growth. How could more algae be a problem?"


and

"If shining more light results in faster-growing, less nutritious algae—junk-food algae whose ratio of sugar to nutrients was out of whack—then it seemed logical to assume that ramping up carbon dioxide might do the same. And it could also be playing out in plants all over the planet. What might that mean for the plants that people eat?"

and

"Rising CO2 revs up photosynthesis, the process that helps plants transform sunlight to food. This makes plants grow, but it also leads to them pack in more carbohydrates like glucose at the expense of other nutrients that we depend on, like protein, iron and zinc."

and

"We don't know what a minor shift in the carbohydrate ratio in the diet is ultimately going to do,” she said, noting that the overall trend toward more starch and carbohydrate consumption has been associated with an increase in diet-related disease like obesity and diabetes. "To what degree would a shift in the food system contribute to that? We can't really say.”

and

"Goldenrod, a wildflower many consider a weed, is extremely important to bees. It flowers late in the season, and its pollen provides an important source of protein for bees as they head into the harshness of winter. Since goldenrod is wild and humans haven’t bred it into new strains, it hasn’t changed over time as much as, say, corn or wheat. And the Smithsonian Institution also happens to have hundreds of samples of goldenrod, dating back to 1842, in its massive historical archive—which gave Ziska and his colleagues a chance to figure out how one plant has changed over time.

They found that the protein content of goldenrod pollen has declined by a third since the industrial revolution—and the change closely tracks with the rise in CO2. Scientists have been trying to figure out why bee populations around the world have been in decline, which threatens many crops that rely on bees for pollination. Ziska’s paper suggested that a decline in protein prior to winter could be an additional factor making it hard for bees to survive other stressors."

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: The great nutrient collapse - CO2 is changing nutrient ratios in our food
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2017, 07:10:52 AM »
This is an important article.  I agree.  Any wonder why our population is so sickly at younger and younger ages?  No wonder the bees are dying.  Bats in my area have died as well.  I never had so many bugs.... the bats used to eat them.


Good find!

Rita

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Re: The great nutrient collapse - CO2 is changing nutrient ratios in our food
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2017, 08:28:39 AM »
Gosh... haven't heard about declining bat populations.   I should look into a adding a few bat houses.

Barbara from New Jersey

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Re: The great nutrient collapse - CO2 is changing nutrient ratios in our food
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2017, 06:36:25 PM »
Rita,


The bats get a fungus or bacterial infection during the winter while hibernating in their caves.  Most don't survive.  Just like the mysterious "colony collapse" disorder of bees, they become too weak to fly around and try to find food after hibernating.  In my area, it is the little brown bats that are disappearing, although I'm sure the other species are suffering as well. 


Bat houses are a good idea, but they house only a few.  Just north of where I live are closed 18th century iron ore mines.  Bats flocked to them and flourished.  The bacteria/fungus spread from New England states and now is spreading further south and west into Pennsylvania and Maryland/Virginia.  No one seems to know what the cause is, although it is probably that bats are suffering from poor nutrition and thus susceptible to the fungus/bacteria.






Rita

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Re: The great nutrient collapse - CO2 is changing nutrient ratios in our food
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2017, 11:47:17 AM »
I wonder if adding a starter culture ( Effective Microorganisms ) to a bat house might help control the fungus.

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Re: The great nutrient collapse - CO2 is changing nutrient ratios in our food
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2017, 11:47:17 AM »

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