London, Jan 2, 2018: With warmer global temperatures and dryer weather conditions threatening the survival of the fragile cocoa plant, which could see chocolate disappear by as early as 2050, scientists are exploring the possibility of using the gene-editing technology CRISPR to evolve crops that can survive environmental challenges.
Scientists from the University of California are teaming up with food and candy company Mars to explore CRISPR technique to help tiny cocao seedlings to survive and thrive in the dryer, warmer climate, Businessinsider.com reported.
Experts have warned that increase in warmer global temperatures and dryer weather conditions could see chocolate disappear by as early as 2050.
The cacao tree — which produces cocoa beans — can only grow within a narrow strip of rain forested land roughly 20 degrees north and south of the Equator, where temperature, rain, and humidity all stay relatively constant throughout the year.
However, the fragile plant is under threat from diseases and a changing climate that will suck moisture from the soil and make it impossible to produce a good crop in many regions around the world by 2050, the Sun reported.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, by 2050 the rising temperatures will push the chocolate-growing regions of the world more than 1,000 feet uphill into mountainous terrain — much of which is currently preserved for wildlife.
The problem is most cocoa is produced by poor families who cannot afford fertilisers and pesticides, the experts noted.
“More than 90 per cent of the global cocoa crop is produced by smallholders on subsistence farms with unimproved planting material,” Doug Hawkins, of Hardman Agribusiness — a London based capital markets advisory services firm — was quoted as saying to the Sun.
“All the indicators are that we could be looking at a chocolate deficit of 100,000 tons a year in the next few years,” Hawkins added. (IANS)
Besides affecting our moods and making us grumble more, the crazy weather will inevitably affect our food. We are not talking exotic sea creatures and rain strains of food flax, but chocolate, wine, honey and a few more, which may not be available for sale in the near future. Due to global warming and drought, the production of food is adversely affected as extreme weather events have already ravaged different regions of the world. Imagine a world where breakfasts would no longer be doused in maple syrup or a planet completely devoid of coffee. So, stock them up, sip a little longer and breathe in them before they leave you craving.
Chocolate: You think you can’t do without chocolates? I insist you to think again. Because according to the experts the vicious circle of drought has affected West Africa, which manufactures 70% of the world’s chocolate. And gradually, it will reduce and may lead to unavailability of cocoa in the next 20-30 years. It is also said that we consume chocolates faster than it is produced.
Peanuts: Nuts might drive you nuts.These ‘fairly fussy plants’ require stable and particular environment to grow. Too little rain, the pods don’t germinate. Too much sunshine, the shoots wither. The production has shrunk in the last six-seven years and will continue to do so. Some say that peanuts might be extinct by 2030, so if no peanuts, no peanut butter. Ouch! But if they don’t, then it will become a luxury item and then be ready to shell out more money for it.
Maple Syrup: Pancake emergency! As sugar maple tree responsible for syrup is stressed to the point of disappearing, because of the unpredictable weather conditions. The maple, like peanuts is dependent on precise climate conditions of mild days and freezing nights that our ever-changing climate can no longer offer.
Chickpeas: What would Lebanese cuisine be like without hummus? The chickpeas need 76 gallons of water for every ounce and since there is not enough water, the overall production of legumes is declined by 40% around the world in the last one decade and expected to go down even more in the future. So at this rate, you better eat hummus while you still can.
Honey: No more sweet treat? Honey bee colonies are vanishing at an alarming rate and biologists had warned us about the colony collapse disorder – bees abandoning their hives over a decade now. Plenty of reasons are listed like, parasites, electromagnetic radiation, pathogens, genetically modified crops and many more. Climate change has restricted the areas for them, because humble bee species do not have the ability to easily adapt these changes, which shows the ripple effect in the production of honey.
Avocados: Avocados and chickpeas are like brothers when it comes to their making. To make just one pound of avocado 72 gallons of water is required, and that’s about how much water is used in the four average American showers. It just so happens that more than 80% of avocados are grown in California, where there is a drought. So it might just exterminate before we could even think.
Coffee: Coffee lovers, alert! You got to find a new way to do away with your Monday blues, because your favourite relaxtant is on the path to extinction. It is anticipated that all types of coffee beans will be wiped off the face of the earth by 2080. The rising temperature ruins the plantation of the coffee beans. So, the next time, breathe in the aroma and sip on your morning coffee for a little longer.
Bananas: No more bodybuilding, because no more bananas. Yes, this popular five-a-day fruit intake is on the list of endangered food items. Since bananas rely on moderate weather to ripen and then consistent water to thrive, farmers are being forced to make heavy investments. And a fungal disease called ‘The Panama Tropical Race 4’ is also wiping out banana plantations across the globe.
Fish: No more glowing skin? At the pace we are going the oceans will ran out of the fish by 2048. Overfishing, trawling, pollution and climate change are to be blamed for the disappearance of many aquatic species. As the ocean becomes warmer, there is a change in the ideal habitat temperature required by the water animals. Therefore, leading to shortage of fish.
Wine Grapes: Will there be no more wine festivals? Because the major type of grape used for wine production is picked after the rain, and there is either uneven rainfall or no rain. But a glimmer of hope always exists. So, if wine growers begin to exploit the diversity of those other thousand wine grape varities in earnest, the industry could survive. After all, it’s all about adaptation.