Food, Nutrition and Agrobiodiversity Under Global Climate Change
Available evidence and predictions suggest overall negative effects on agricultural production as a result of climate change, especially when more food is required by a growing population. Information on the effects of global warming on pests and pathogens affecting agricultural crops is limited, though crop–pest models could offer means to predict changes in pest dynamics, and help design sound plant health management practices. Host-plant resistance should continue to receive high priority as global warming may favor emergence of new pest epidemics. There is increased risk, due to climate change, to food and feed contaminated by mycotoxin-producing fungi. Mycotoxin biosynthesis gene-specific microarray is being used to identify food-born fungi and associated mycotoxins, and investigate the influence of environmental parameters and their interactions for control of mycotoxin in food crops. Some crop wild relatives are threatened plant species and efforts should be made for their in situ conservation to ensure evolution of new variants, which may contribute to addressing new challenges to agricultural production. There should be more emphasis on germplasm enhancement to develop intermediate products with specific characteristics to support plant breeding. Abiotic stress response is routinely dissected to component physiological traits. Use of transgene(s) has led to the development of transgenic events, which could provide enhanced adaptation to abiotic stresses that are exacerbated by climate change. Global warming is also associated with declining nutritional quality of food crops. Micronutrient-dense cultivars have been released in selected areas of the developing world, while various nutritionally enhanced lines are in the release pipeline. The high-throughput phenomic platforms are allowing researchers to accurately measure plant growth and development, analyze nutritional traits, and assess response to stresses on large sets of individuals. Analogs for tomorrow’s agriculture offer a virtual natural laboratory to innovate and test technological options to develop climate resilience production systems. Increased use of agrobiodiversity is crucial to coping with adverse impacts of global warming on food and feed production and quality. No one solution will suffice to adapt to climate change and its variability. Suits of technological innovations, including climate-resilient crop cultivars, will be needed to feed 9 billion people who will be living in the Earth by the middle of the twenty-first century.
Dwivedi, S.; Sahrawat, K.; Upadhyaya, H.; Ortiz, R. Food, Nutrition and Agrobiodiversity Under Global Climate Change. Advances in Agronomy (2013) 120: 1-128. [DOI: 10.1016/B978-0-12-407686-0.00001-4]