Air Pollution Weakens Rice Nutrients, Affects Poor Countries More

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Air Pollution Weakens Rice Nutrients, Affects Poor Countries More

Writer''s note: Plagiarism is unacceptable. But to make a sweeping statement that this article is copied, is also not. Please check the references to this article. I have made completely different situationer in relating the story. The rice analysis subhead was also retold in a way that this writer understood from the research. Can you refer which sections were plagiarised? I prefer the way you made comments on the black MSM article I wrote. It  was straight-to-the-point, helpful and told matter-of-factly, very unlike a lazy proofreader's one-liner. This story is getting staler, do you suggest a rehash? 

cc: Michelle


Children in school eating rice. Source: Pixabay Creative Commons

Dojo, along with his four siblings fled Bambari when violence erupted in their little village. His two sisters, terrorized and emaciated, died of hunger before they reached humanitarian shelters. Dojo and his younger brother barely made it, scrambling through for food, safety, and survival.

Dojo’s and Dihujani’s story echoed the plight of more than one million food-insecure population in Central African Republic (CAR) affected by conflicts and instability. It remains the country in the world today with more than half of its population hungry and malnourished.  The UN World Food Program (WFP) has provided urgent humanitarian action with more than $10 million worth or 5,500 tons of nutritional food such as rice.

The question is, how nutritious could the rice supplied be for the famished women and children in CAR? According to an international research team, rice may not be as nutritious as before. As the level of carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, the nutritional value of rice decreases.

The conclusion was further explained in the study published in the journal Science Advances.

Kazuhiko Kobayashi, professor at University of Tokyo, expert in the effects of air pollution on agriculture and co-author of the recent study on rice said, "Rice is not just a major source of calories, but also proteins and vitamins for many people in developing countries and for poorer communities within developed countries."

Kobayashi’s observation reverberated the imbalance in the demographics of consumption among poor countries which have so many mouths to feed but can hardly produce and supply food to its people.  Malnutrition is prevalent in these countries. It does not help knowing that air pollution affects the protein, micronutrients and vitamin content of rice grains they depended on from hunger and nutrition.

Air pollution involved emission of harmful substances, such as carbon dioxide, to the atmosphere.

Today, rice is the primary food source of over 2 billion people in the planet. The study will have ramifications on the health and early development of this rice-consuming group. About 600 million people living in the Asian countries get half of their daily protein needs from rice. Rice is  fixture in all dishes served in Vietnam, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Madagascar, The Philippines and Indonesia .

Carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere are not expected to slow down in the decades to come. Last month, about 410 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide was measured in the atmosphere. This was the highest ever recorded for the past 800,000 years.


Source: Pexels Creative Commons


The Rice Analysis

The team created research fields in Japan and China where a variety of rice were grown. A technique known as Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) was utilized in which the research fields where installed with pipes all around  the crops to measure the carbon dioxide levels released to the crops. FACE measured the carbon dioxide at 568 to 590 ppm, the projected levels present in the atmosphere half a century later. The effects in the increased CO2 levels on the nutritional content of the plants were staggering.

Just like in humans, anything too much is never a good thing.

The plants were grown in open field conditions similar to how the farmers would grow them. The China experimental field showed decrease in the vitamins thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), pantothenic acid (B5), and folate (B9) levels.

The experiment revealed 30% decline in folate, 10% decline in iron and protein, and 5% decline in zinc. Folate is a critical synthetic form of B9 which prevents neural tube defects, spinal cord and brain defects of the fetus inside a mother's womb.

Kristi Ebi, professor at University of Washington and co-author of the study said, “Reductions in the nutritional quality of rice could affect maternal and child health for millions of people.”

According to Dr Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist at the US Department of Agriculture and co-author of the new study plants need carbon dioxide for their food buut how these responded to sudden increase in the CO2 levels will have an impact on the nutritional content of plants, and nutritional deficits for humans.

The Banaue Rice Terraces in the Philippines (Filipino: Hagdan-hagdang Palayan ng Banawe) are 2,000-year-old terraces that were carved into the mountains of Ifugao by ancestors of the indigenous people. The Rice Terraces are commonly referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World". It is commonly thought that the terraces were built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. Source: Wikipedia Commons

Future Research

The research team emphasized that the study do not cover the impact of mass consumption of low-nutrient rice. They warned, though, the health and nutrition industry that decreased in nutritional contents of rice may increase the risks of malaria, growth stunting, and diarrheal diseases. 

The study can build on future research needed on possible role of genetic modification to counter the loss nutrients and produce supererior and nutritious food even with climate change scenario. They suggested looking into further study of mineral fertilizers if these could improve quality of rice.

Scientists involved in the study include the Centre for Crop Health at the University of Southern Queensland, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Bryan Medical Center (USA), and University of Washington (USA), and the United States Department of Agriculture.



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