Pollution derived from human activities can affect plant distribution and crop yield. The severity of the injury depends on a number of different factors, including plant species and its physiological state, pollutant concentration and length of exposure of the particular pollutant, environmental. The biomagnification of pollutants in the food chain is also possible.
Heavy metals (as Al, Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Zn) are ubiquitous environmental contaminants in industrialized countries. Also the release of nanomaterials into the environment with subsequent contamination of soils represent a harmful source of potential toxicity.
Moreover, human activities result in accelerating global climatic changes, one of the most relevant being the increase of carbon dioxide concentration in the terrestrial troposphere. It increased from about 280 μmol mol-1 to 400 μmol mol-1 since 1750 and it is expected to reach 550 μmol mol-1 in the coming decades. The impact all these factors on agriculture and food supply is today of great concern.
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