Named a plant that is not afraid of climate change. It feeds a billion people

A team from the University of Illinois and Monash University studied how cassava roots adapt to

the amount of carbon dioxide thatexpected in the second half of this century and which will intensify climate change. It should be noted that more than 1 billion people feed on these root crops. Scientists have grown an experimental crop at an open-air research center called SoyFACE by artificially increasing carbon dioxide. Their goal is to understand how the rise in CO2 will affect the cassava harvest in the coming decades.

AT Journal of Experimental Botany scientists reported an increase in yields from 22% to 39%seven of the eight varieties of cassava. Each cultivar selected for the study is "farmer preferred" in Africa, where cassava makes up a quarter or more of the diet in several countries. Contrary to past studies on other crops, no reduction in the quality of protein or nitrogen in the leaves, which are consumed by humans and livestock in addition to starchy tubers, has been found.

Ursula University of Illinois Research FellowRuiz Vera harvests cassava, which is part of a study on the photosynthetic differences between cassava varieties grown in futuristic climates at the SoyFACE Research Center. Credit: Claire Benjamin / RIPE Project.

Research has shown that when the levelcarbon dioxide increases from 400 to 600 ppm, cassava leaves can store 58% more water than under normal conditions. It does this by optimizing the rate of carbon input and water release from the leaf.

The natural ability of cassava to produce high yields with little water makes it a staple food in drought-prone regions of sub-Saharan Africa.

Read also

The Doomsday glacier turned out to be more dangerous than scientists thought. We tell the main thing

Scientists discover two new mammals in Australia

Voluntary death. We tell how the euthanasia procedure works around the world