High levels of ozone are destroying corn crops in areas such as India and China, where researchers predict yield losses of about 10 percent.
Ozone, released as a result of fossil fuels, causes corn crops to grow efficiently prematurely and make them less energy efficient for growth, unlike other emissions such as carbon dioxide and methane, according to the Daily Mail.
The researchers found that two of the most common commercial types of popular vegetables suffer particularly when exposed to more gas.
Crop scientist Lisa Ainsworth of the US Department of Agriculture and her colleagues measured the impact of atmospheric ozone levels in a field on maize growth and production using a sophisticated emission system that monitors wind conditions to maintain a selected dose of target gas.
“Ozone enters plants in the same way that carbon dioxide works, spreading from the atmosphere to the leaf,” Dr. Ainsworth said.
“Ozone accelerates leaf aging, and our research suggests that current ozone levels reduce corn productivity by as much as 10 percent, such as drought, flooding, any pest or disease, but this is a relatively unconscious element of revenue loss in the United States”, said Dr Andrew Leakey, co-author and research biologist from the University of Illinois.
Researchers experimented with 45 hybrid maize plants, which represent all major maize varieties, and discovered that some members of the maize family are more likely to decrease yields when ozone air pollution levels are high.
Carbon dioxide is nutritious to plants, and ozone is a highly reactive molecule that destroys biological tissues and weakens photo carbon capture in plant leaves.