Researchers have developed a new model showing that concentrations of selenium, an important mineral to human health, in soils are significantly affected by climate change, according to a study released Tuesday by the Rothamsted Research, a renowned agricultural research station in Britain.
Micronutrients, or minerals such as selenium, are an essential part of a healthy diet, gained from the soil via the crops we eat, yet many people don't get enough of them.
Deficiency in selenium is thought to affect up to one billion people worldwide, contributing to problems such as poor immune function and heart muscle issues, according to the Rothamsted Research.
According to the team's mode, which incorporates different historical data, the selenium concentrations in Britain are predicted to drop by more than 10 percent in many parts of the country, and similar trend could be seen across much of Europe and parts of south America, Asia and Africa. Meanwhile, much of North America could witnessed a drop of 2.5 to 10 percent.
This model has already revealed a very important fact that climate can be a key factor in the distribution of some essential micronutrients across the globe, said Steve McGrath, from the Rothamsted Research.
The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.