How is ozone pollution reducing our food supply?

Wilkinson, Sally; Mills, Gina; Illidge, Rosemary; Davies, William J.. 2012 How is ozone pollution reducing our food supply? Journal of Experimental Botany, 63 (2). 527-536.

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Ground-level ozone pollution is already decreasing global crop yields (from ∼2.2–5.5% for maize to 3.9–15% and 8.5–14% for wheat and soybean, respectively), to differing extents depending on genotype and environmental conditions, and this problem is predicted to escalate given climate change and increasing ozone precursor emissions in many areas. Here a summary is provided of how ozone pollution affects yield in a variety of crops, thus impacting global food security. Ozone causes visible injury symptoms to foliage; it induces early senescence and abscission of leaves; it can reduce stomatal aperture and thereby carbon uptake, and/or directly reduce photosynthetic carbon fixation; it can moderate biomass growth via carbon availability or more directly; it can decrease translocation of fixed carbon to edible plant parts (grains, fruits, pods, roots) due either to reduced availability at source, redirection to synthesis of chemical protectants, or reduced transport capabilities via phloem; decreased carbon transport to roots reduces nutrient and water uptake and affects anchorage; ozone can moderate or bring forward flowering and induce pollen sterility; it induces ovule and/or grain abortion; and finally it reduces the ability of some genotypes to withstand other stresses such as drought, high vapour pressure deficit, and high photon flux density via effects on stomatal control. This latter point is emphasized here, given predictions that atmospheric conditions conducive to drought formation that also give rise to intense precursor emission events will become more severe over the coming decades.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Programmes: CEH Topics & Objectives 2009 - 2012 > Biodiversity
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
ISSN: 0022-0957
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Experimental Botany following peer review. The definitive publisher-authenticated version Journal of Experimental Botany, 63 (2). 527-536. 10.1093/jxb/err317 is available online at:
Additional Keywords: abscisic acid, climate change, crop yield, drought stress, ethylene, food security, ozone pollution, stomatal conductance, water use
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Meteorology and Climatology
Date made live: 21 Jan 2013 11:49 +0 (UTC)

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