Wednesday, October 18, 2017

CO2, staple food and goldenrod pollen

A Living on Earth radio article draws a connection between atmospheric carbon and the nutritional value of staple food.  Staple foods grown in elevated concentrations of CO2 result in a decrease of iron, zinc and protein.   These results are reproduced in an experiment where staple foods are grown in a CO2 controlled environment.

This time of year, the hives have a stinky smell.  Imagine the smell of hiking boots or dirty gym socks.  Strong un-sweet notes can be found in pockets around the hives.  I have goldenrod to thank for this smell.  Goldenrod is a vital late summer forage for honey bees.  I was surprised to see that this radio article also speaks to how goldenrod protein decreases as CO2 increases.  Goldenrod pollen samples taken now have 30% less protein than samples from 1850's.  In the same way, these results are reproduced in an experiment where goldenrod is grown in a CO2 controlled environment.

Have a look at the graph showing the CO2 increase since the 1850's.  I expect a further decline of staple foods and goldenrod nutrition in the future.

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