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Pollinator power: Nutrition security benefits of an ecosystem service.

Nicole W - Environ. Health Perspect. (2015)

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

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Even more recently, several other new studies have offered evidence that pollinators may also have a beneficial impact on nutrition security—the availability of essential macro- and micronutrients in the human diet. “It’s really well known that pollination changes the yields of crops and the economics of farming,” says Taylor Ricketts, director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont... Although calcium and iron are absorbed more efficiently from meat and dairy sources, those foods are not available to all people due to high cost... The authors concluded that jeopardizing animal-dependent pollination “could have a potentially drastic effect on human nutrition. ” They acknowledged their findings were limited by the use of data generated in the United States, which may not reflect the nutrient content of the same foods grown in other countries... In addition, she says, “the demand for pollinator-dependent crops is increasing far faster in developing countries—where food and nutrition security are an issue—than in developed countries. ” Animal pollinators appear to affect fruit condition, nutrient content, and hence market value in complex ways... One experiment found that bee-pollinated strawberries were redder, heavier, and firmer, and had reduced sugar–acid ratios—all leading to longer shelf life and higher market value—compared with wind- and self-pollinated fruits... Other studies have found animal pollination is associated with higher calcium content in apples, oil content in rapeseed, and sugar content in mandarin oranges... Klein and colleagues studied nutrient levels in almonds to determine whether they varied according to how the trees were pollinated... The researchers found lower levels of vitamin E but a higher ratio of oleic to linoleic acids in almonds from cross-pollinated trees compared with those from self-pollinated trees... The researchers suggest that a higher ratio of oleic to linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated fat) would be desired by consumers looking for health benefits... In another study led by Klein, researchers found a strong relationship between pollination method and nut size.In an experimental orchard in the Sacramento Valley, they found that self-pollinated almond trees produced fewer and heavier nuts compared with hand-pollinated ones, with bee-pollinated almonds intermediate in size... Using spatial data on the yield of 115 food crops around the world plus Klein’s data on crop pollinator dependence, they created maps depicting hot spots where production of heavily pollinator-dependent crops overlaps with deficiency in various micronutrients. “We ranked all nations by the extent of their pollination dependence for different micronutrients,” explains lead author Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, a research associate for the Natural Capital Project... In parts of Southeast Asia, for example, Chaplin-Kramer says pollinator-dependent crops produce only 48% of the local demand. “That means there is already not enough vitamin A being produced [by crops] locally in Southeast Asia for people to reach their nutritional requirements,” Chaplin-Kramer says, “but in Central America [pollinator-dependent crops] produce way more than people could locally consume. ” Although global trade can supplement local production, the fact that many of these countries are already malnourished suggests that the excess supply of micronutrients at a global level is irrelevant to the nutritional needs in many places... The study is one of the first projects of HEAL (Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages), a consortium of research institutions established to quantify the links between conservation, ecosystems, and human health. “There’s a lot of talk about this, and some case studies, but we’re trying to systematically relate ecosystem change to health outcomes,” Ricketts says. “The focus of HEAL is to be as quantitative and clear and rigorous as we can. ” The researchers estimated how complete removal of pollinators—an unlikely scenario—would affect access to micronutrients of widespread health importance, namely, vitamin A, folate, and iron (as in the work by Chaplin-Kramer) as well as calcium and zinc... “You can logic your way through it,” Ricketts says, “but we wouldn’t have predicted what we found based on just looking at these big global databases of food. … We’re finding that understanding human behavior is often really critical in figuring out whether nature helps human health. ” “The Ellis paper is a great example of what we need to do more of to understand the real vulnerability in the system,” says Chaplin-Kramer, who has begun a major project modeling how local nutrition might be affected by different agricultural interventions in Ghana and Burkina Faso. “The point is to connect more to the demand for the pollination service based on actual diet, rather than just the supply of the service,” she says.

No MeSH data available.


A Kolkata market vendor opens a pumpkin to check its quality. Pumpkins are a rich source of vitamin A, one of the most highly pollinator-dependent micronutrients. Studies of vitamin A and other important nutrients suggest that pollinator declines would affect different areas in different ways, depending on people’s current nutritional status, whether their usual sources of various nutrients depend on animal pollination, and the availability of nonpollinator-dependent alternative foods.© Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters/Corbis
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d35e304: A Kolkata market vendor opens a pumpkin to check its quality. Pumpkins are a rich source of vitamin A, one of the most highly pollinator-dependent micronutrients. Studies of vitamin A and other important nutrients suggest that pollinator declines would affect different areas in different ways, depending on people’s current nutritional status, whether their usual sources of various nutrients depend on animal pollination, and the availability of nonpollinator-dependent alternative foods.© Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters/Corbis


Pollinator power: Nutrition security benefits of an ecosystem service.

Nicole W - Environ. Health Perspect. (2015)

A Kolkata market vendor opens a pumpkin to check its quality. Pumpkins are a rich source of vitamin A, one of the most highly pollinator-dependent micronutrients. Studies of vitamin A and other important nutrients suggest that pollinator declines would affect different areas in different ways, depending on people’s current nutritional status, whether their usual sources of various nutrients depend on animal pollination, and the availability of nonpollinator-dependent alternative foods.© Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters/Corbis
© Copyright Policy - public-domain
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4528997&req=5

d35e304: A Kolkata market vendor opens a pumpkin to check its quality. Pumpkins are a rich source of vitamin A, one of the most highly pollinator-dependent micronutrients. Studies of vitamin A and other important nutrients suggest that pollinator declines would affect different areas in different ways, depending on people’s current nutritional status, whether their usual sources of various nutrients depend on animal pollination, and the availability of nonpollinator-dependent alternative foods.© Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters/Corbis

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

Even more recently, several other new studies have offered evidence that pollinators may also have a beneficial impact on nutrition security—the availability of essential macro- and micronutrients in the human diet. “It’s really well known that pollination changes the yields of crops and the economics of farming,” says Taylor Ricketts, director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont... Although calcium and iron are absorbed more efficiently from meat and dairy sources, those foods are not available to all people due to high cost... The authors concluded that jeopardizing animal-dependent pollination “could have a potentially drastic effect on human nutrition. ” They acknowledged their findings were limited by the use of data generated in the United States, which may not reflect the nutrient content of the same foods grown in other countries... In addition, she says, “the demand for pollinator-dependent crops is increasing far faster in developing countries—where food and nutrition security are an issue—than in developed countries. ” Animal pollinators appear to affect fruit condition, nutrient content, and hence market value in complex ways... One experiment found that bee-pollinated strawberries were redder, heavier, and firmer, and had reduced sugar–acid ratios—all leading to longer shelf life and higher market value—compared with wind- and self-pollinated fruits... Other studies have found animal pollination is associated with higher calcium content in apples, oil content in rapeseed, and sugar content in mandarin oranges... Klein and colleagues studied nutrient levels in almonds to determine whether they varied according to how the trees were pollinated... The researchers found lower levels of vitamin E but a higher ratio of oleic to linoleic acids in almonds from cross-pollinated trees compared with those from self-pollinated trees... The researchers suggest that a higher ratio of oleic to linoleic acid (a polyunsaturated fat) would be desired by consumers looking for health benefits... In another study led by Klein, researchers found a strong relationship between pollination method and nut size.In an experimental orchard in the Sacramento Valley, they found that self-pollinated almond trees produced fewer and heavier nuts compared with hand-pollinated ones, with bee-pollinated almonds intermediate in size... Using spatial data on the yield of 115 food crops around the world plus Klein’s data on crop pollinator dependence, they created maps depicting hot spots where production of heavily pollinator-dependent crops overlaps with deficiency in various micronutrients. “We ranked all nations by the extent of their pollination dependence for different micronutrients,” explains lead author Rebecca Chaplin-Kramer, a research associate for the Natural Capital Project... In parts of Southeast Asia, for example, Chaplin-Kramer says pollinator-dependent crops produce only 48% of the local demand. “That means there is already not enough vitamin A being produced [by crops] locally in Southeast Asia for people to reach their nutritional requirements,” Chaplin-Kramer says, “but in Central America [pollinator-dependent crops] produce way more than people could locally consume. ” Although global trade can supplement local production, the fact that many of these countries are already malnourished suggests that the excess supply of micronutrients at a global level is irrelevant to the nutritional needs in many places... The study is one of the first projects of HEAL (Health & Ecosystems: Analysis of Linkages), a consortium of research institutions established to quantify the links between conservation, ecosystems, and human health. “There’s a lot of talk about this, and some case studies, but we’re trying to systematically relate ecosystem change to health outcomes,” Ricketts says. “The focus of HEAL is to be as quantitative and clear and rigorous as we can. ” The researchers estimated how complete removal of pollinators—an unlikely scenario—would affect access to micronutrients of widespread health importance, namely, vitamin A, folate, and iron (as in the work by Chaplin-Kramer) as well as calcium and zinc... “You can logic your way through it,” Ricketts says, “but we wouldn’t have predicted what we found based on just looking at these big global databases of food. … We’re finding that understanding human behavior is often really critical in figuring out whether nature helps human health. ” “The Ellis paper is a great example of what we need to do more of to understand the real vulnerability in the system,” says Chaplin-Kramer, who has begun a major project modeling how local nutrition might be affected by different agricultural interventions in Ghana and Burkina Faso. “The point is to connect more to the demand for the pollination service based on actual diet, rather than just the supply of the service,” she says.

No MeSH data available.