Reducing surface layer ozone pollution could significantly increase wheat yield in East Asia: study

BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) — Chinese researchers have discovered that halving the ground level ozone pollution dose could increase wheat yields by more than 20 percent, the Science and Technology Daily reported Thursday.

The climbing concentration of surface ozone pollution hinders crop growth and reduces yields, according to the report.

The researchers from the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology worked in cooperation with nine other institutions to assess the relative yield loss in rice, wheat and maize due to ozone, by combining the ozone elevation experiments across Asia and air monitoring at about 3,000 locations in China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

They found that the total ozone-induced annual loss of crop production is estimated at 63 billion U.S. dollars in East Asia, according to a recent research article published in the journal Nature Food.

More specifically, the yields of wheat, rice and maize could be improved by 21 percent, 10 percent and 4 percent respectively in China, if the ozone were reduced half with emission reduction measures.

The researchers suggested taking mitigation action for ozone emission control and adaptive agronomic measures against the rising surface ozone levels across East Asia.

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Source: People’s Daily Online, February 11, 2022.
http://en.people.cn/n3/2022/0211/c90000-9956384.html

The full research paper can be found at:

Nature Food, ‘Ozone pollution threatens the production of major staple crops in East Asia’, by Feng, Z., Xu, Y., Kobayashi, K. et al, volume 3, pages 47–56 (2022).

Abstract:

East Asia is a hotspot of surface ozone (O3) pollution, which hinders crop growth and reduces yields.

The study assesses the relative yield loss in rice, wheat and maize due to O3 by combining O3 elevation experiments across Asia and air monitoring at about 3,000 locations in China, Japan and Korea.

China shows the highest relative yield loss at 33%, 23% and 9% for wheat, rice and maize, respectively. The relative yield loss is much greater in hybrid than inbred rice, being close to that for wheat.

Total O3-induced annual loss of crop production is estimated at US$63 billion. The large impact of O3 on crop production urges taking mitigation action for O3 emission control and adaptive agronomic measures against the rising surface O3 levels across East Asia.

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