Rice, the primary food source for more than 3 billion people around the world, could lose much of its nutritional value.
Scientists from China, Japan, Australia and the United States have conducted field studies in Asia analyzing how rising concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere altered levels of protein, micronutrients and B vitamins. They found that
rice grown at the concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide scientists expect the world to reach by 2100 has lower levels of four key B vitamins. Research by others shows that rice grown under such conditions contains less protein, iron and zinc, which are important in fetal and early child development. These changes could have a disproportionate impact on maternal and child health in the poorest rice-dependent countries. About 600 million people — mostly in Southeast Asia — get more than half of their daily calories and protein directly from rice.