The Study on Rice Yields and Arsenic
Stanford University Research derived the results by growing a medium-sized variety of rice in the California rice-growing region (Sacramento Valley). The experiment was conducted in a greenhouse. The researchers set carbon dioxide levels twice as the present levels and increased the temperature by five degrees Celsius. The researchers selected these conditions as projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Stanford University Research found that increased temperature makes the crop to take up more than required arsenic levels from the soil. The problem worsens with irrigation as plants take up more of this semi metal. Besides, the over-pumping of groundwater (arsenic-contaminated) in the future will lead to destabilization of the microorganism that decides whether the arsenic will remain in the soil or taken up by the plant. As a result, the rice will uptake a greater amount of toxic arsenic from soil. It will come in the nutrient absorption of rice thus constraining its growth. Hence the prediction of a 40% decline in rice production.
Increased consumption of arsenic poses several health concerns to humans. It can aggravate lung diseases, skin contusion, cancer, and even death. Many crops have a certain amount of arsenic but increased levels can cause the above-mentioned problems.
Rice is the staple diet for almost half of the world’s population. It is fed as the first food to infants as it is low on allergens. The fact that this grain can become dangerous for consumption is worrisome. The scientists consider this result as a sign of early warning. They expect that the advancement in seed technology will bring a variety of rice that will fight this problem. They also revealed that the society must adopt measures that would decrease the chances of increased temperature and carbon dioxide levels in the future.
To conclude, the Stanford University Research made us aware of what waits for us in the future and the need to take immediate steps.