Irakli Loladze

Does Rising CO2 Harm Plants?

What do algae, a mathematician, and carbon dioxide have in common? A 20-year quest to see if CO2 changes are affecting the nutrient content of our plants.

The Memos for the past two weeks were about eating more vegetables and fruit because they have the vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients we can’t get from animal products. But what if there are fewer nutrients in those plants? That’s what a recent article entitled “The Great Nutrient Collapse” in Politico examined.

The mathematician is Dr. Irakli Loladze. While a graduate student, a biologist shared an observation with a group of biology students: exposing a specific type of algae to more light caused them to multiply faster. That increased the food supply for the plankton that ate the algae. The problem is that instead of thriving, the plankton began to die. How could that be? The algae grew faster but contained fewer nutrients, thus causing the plankton to starve.

Dr. Loladze spent the next 20 years wondering and researching whether that’s happening in our food supply as well. While the amount of sunlight has remained fairly stable, atmospheric CO2 levels have increased. Could that be impacting the nutrient content of our food supply? We’ll take a look at the science this week.

What are you prepared to do today?

Dr. Chet


Reference: The Great Nutrient Collapse. 09-13-2017.


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