CO2 e siccità mettono a rischio le coltivazioni

di Paola P. 39

coltivazioni-siccita-co2La sicurezza degli approvvigionamenti alimentari mondiali è duramente messa alla prova dai cambiamenti climatici in atto. Le vecchie piante non sono infatti abituate a temperature così torride e la mancanza di acqua, con l’avanzare della desertificazione, non fa che rendere ancora più arida la terra coltivabile. Motivo per il quale gli scienziati si stanno adoperando al fine di trovare piante più resistenti al riscaldamento terrestre e meno sensibili all’alta quantità di CO2 immessa nell’atmosfera dalle attività umane e non.

Un nuovo clima esige nuove colture. Continuare ad ignorare il problema potrebbe risultare pericolosamente deleterio, dal momento che gli studiosi hanno scoperto che le piante cresciute in ambienti aridi e/o inquinati, con alti tassi di CO2, avrebbero meno principi nutritivi rispetto alle altre e valori elevati di sostanze tossiche per l’organismo. Un recente studio, effettuato da un team di ricercatori della Monash University di Victoria (Australia), ha infatti individuato un incremento di composti tossici e una diminuzione del contenuto proteico nelle piante coltivate in territori con alto tasso di inquinamento. Gli studiosi hanno inoltre notato che la resa delle coltivazioni in condizioni di siccità e in aree fortemente interessate dai cambiamenti climatici era nettamente inferiore a quella ottenuta in condizioni normali.
coltivazioni-maniocaLa ricerca, presentata dal dottor Gleadow Ros nel corso del Society for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting svoltosi a Glasgow il 29 giugno scorso, ha dimostrato che la concentrazione di alcune sostanze tossiche responsabili del rilascio di cianuro di idrogeno, è aumentata nelle piante coltivate in corrispondenza di elevate quantità di CO2. Questo dato è stato aggravato dal fatto che il contenuto proteico è diminuito, rendendo le piante più tossiche, dal momento che la capacità degli erbivori di abbattere i livelli di cianuro dipende in gran parte dall’ingestione di una quantità sufficiente di proteine.
I dati hanno inoltre dimostrato che la manioca, un alimento base delle colture nelle regioni tropicali e subtropicali, data la sua tolleranza delle condizioni aride, è soggetta a riduzioni di resa in presenza di alti tassi di CO2. Secondo gli esperti se i livelli di CO2 continueranno ad aumentare:

Abbiamo bisogno di prepararci per la prevista riduzione del valore nutrizionale di molte piante, fenomeno che sconvolgerà gli equilibri di sussistenza di intere popolazioni, già oggi in gravi difficoltà a causa della penuria di cibo.

[Fonte: Society for Experimental Biology (2009, June 30). New Crops Needed For New Climate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 1, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/06/090629081127.htm]

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