Possible impacts of air-pollution caused ozones on the agricultural yield

Introduced by Kun-Chan Tsai, FFTC
e-mail: kctsai@fftc.org.tw

For the agricultural value chain, a sound infrastructure can shorten the distance from farmgate to market, maintaining the freshness and prolong the shell-life of agricultural products. But you may not know the ozone, which is synthesized through interactions between pollutant emissions of cars and environmental volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight, could have been linked to the crop yield. Ozone can enter the plant individuals, impaire the photosynthesis mechanism, and reduce the harvest yield, thus leading to the revenue reduction of farmers. 

In California, accordgin to the model simulation results by Hong et al (2020), ozone, not warming, may be the dominant negative factor to the agriculture economic activity of perennial crops and causes annual loss estimated to be roughly 1 billion USD! It does not imply the neglectable impact of global warming on the California agricultura industry, but reminds us the potential disturbance of how air pollutions may have brought to the agricultural yield.

Asia is an important agricultural production area to the world, while is also a region with the highest economic development, significant population expansion and comprehensive manufacture sourcing value chain. The derived by-products behind these activities may contribute to the production of ozone and affect the agricultural yields, while the effects of massive climatic changes are not considered yet. More cross-disciplinary and -border sudies and joint research network in the Asia are encouraged to foster to evaluate the potential impacts of ozone, which is the by-product of cars and motorcycles commonly used and seen in the Asia.

Hong et al. (2020) Nature Food.1:166-172