Climate Change Could Ruin Our Bread, According to Research
The doomsday scenarios of the effects climate change continue to pour in. Here’s one effect we don’t hear much about though: Crappier bread.
At the Australian Grains Free Air CO2 Enrichment facility (also known as AgFace) in Victoria, Australia, researchers are growing grains and baking bread, looking to see what effect elevated carbon dioxide levels – those we’re currently predicted to see as early as 2050 – have on the results. Interestingly, wheat grows faster and produces greater yields under these conditions, but it also contains less protein and has different ratios of proteins. The result is dough with altered elasticity and loaves of bread that don’t rise as well.
“We don't understand completely why that's the case,” Dr Glenn Fitzgerald, a senior research scientist with the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
AgFace grows its crops out in fields surrounded by tubes that emit extra carbon dioxide, so they believe their experiments closely mimic natural conditions. Researchers also hope that if we can’t change our climate, we might be able to at least salvage our bread by growing better wheat. The group is currently conducting research to find wheat varieties that stand up better to elevated CO2 levels.
But if you’re the kind of person who likes your bread extra fluffy, maybe consider ditching your SUV for public transportation.