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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering >> 2015, Volume 2, Issue 2 doi: 10.15302/J-FASE-2015067

Air pollution affects food security in China: taking ozone as an example

1. State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China.2. College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China

Accepted: 2015-09-10 Available online:2015-09-25

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Abstract

Air pollution is becoming an increasingly important environmental concern due to its visible negative impact on human health. However, air pollution also affects agricultural crops or food security directly or indirectly, which has not so far received sufficient attention. In this overview, we take ozone (O ) as an example to analyze the principles and extent of the impact of air pollution on food security in China based on a review of the literature. Current O pollution shows a clear negative impact on food security, causing around a 10% yield decrease for major cereal crops according to a large number of field studies around the world. The mean yield decrease of winter wheat is predicted to be up to 20% in China, based on the projection of future ground-level O concentration in 2020, if no pollution control measures are implemented. Strict mitigation of NO and VOC (two major precursors of O ) emissions is crucial for reducing the negative impacts of ground-level O on food security. Breeding new crop cultivars with tolerance to high ground-level O should receive serious consideration in future research programs. In addition, integrated soil-crop system management will be an important option to mitigate the negative effects of elevated ground-level O on cereal crop production and food quality.

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