What Do Heatwaves Mean for Global Natural Flavor Production?
Global natural flavor production relies on well-nourished plants grown in healthy soil with enough water to sustain their development.
At the same time, the increase in unprecedented heat waves worldwide is wreaking havoc on crops and helping to create a potential food crisis. With climate alterations causing temperatures up to ten times hotter in parts of the world, these changes can be fatal for plants, weakening their defenses against pathogens, disease, and destructive insect attacks.
As a result, as entire crops fail, essential and staple food groups become vulnerable, threatening global food security. Recent (2021) research found that the impact of drought and heatwaves on agriculture has tripled in the last half-century, with crop losses increasing from around two percent in 1964 to 1990 to over seven percent from 1991 to 20151.
With millions already suffering from climate-change-related food shortages2, forecasts suggest an 80% increase in food prices by 2050, further exacerbating food insecurity, particularly among poorer populations3.
Beyond tragically affecting the well-being of vulnerable populations, crop loss negatively impacts food and beverage manufacturers, with essential flavor ingredient producers also relying on naturally sourced high-quality plant-based crops for numerous valuable extracts.
So, what can producers do differently to help prevent losses?
The Development of Heat-Resistant Plants
Farmers, citizens, manufacturers, and flavor ingredient producers may shortly be able to rely on heat-resistant plants and crops thanks to the fruitful results of a United States and Chinese university research collaboration.
The enlightening findings may help explain why common crops fail in high temperatures and how bioengineering can help plants survive extreme heat – crucial for preserving food security in the face of ongoing climate change.
How Does Excessive Heat Impact Plant Defenses?
The research collaboration between scientists at Yale University, Berkeley, Duke, the University of California, and Tao Chen Huazhong Agricultural University, has revealed how high temperatures damages plant defenses.
Studying phytochromes – a plant’s cellular temperature gauges – the researchers discovered that, when threatened, plants’ levels of the hormone salicylic acid can increase sevenfold, boosting plant immunity and fending off danger. However, extreme heat – even small doses across short periods – suppresses the release of this vital hormone, leaving plants vulnerable.
How Are Heat-Resistant Plants Created?
In response to this revelation, scientists have created a way to prevent heat responses from blocking the release of salicylic acid, helping protect the plant’s immunity and increasing its resilience in higher temperatures. Using “next-generation sequencing”, the researchers identified the master gene behind the high-temperature salicylic acid protein “switch off”.
Then, by mutating the same master gene to remain permanently “switched on”, plants maintained their defenses to resist rising temperature conditions.
With this insight and understanding, and a viable solution, researchers are now exploring how to apply these findings to common global food crops. Trial outcomes are encouraging, with modified plants poised to help safeguard crops even as temperatures increase.
Simultaneously, the necessary gene adaption poses no threat to food safety or the flavor of the plants. This consistency is good news for global taste and aroma ingredient producers such as Advanced Biotech and their clients in the food, beverage, nutrition, toiletry, and cosmetic industries, helping maintain production as the climate crisis continues.
Rely on Advanced Biotech for Continued Global Natural Flavor Ingredients
Advanced Biotech provides an extensive range of 100% natural, pure and plant-based flavor and aroma molecules. Ingredients are naturally sourced, and flavors are extracted using advanced, industry-approved techniques.
Advanced Biotech offers a selection of product options to suit your needs, whether you require sweet, savory, or more exotic flavor enhancements for liquid or solid applications.
So, leverage the benefits of global natural, pure and potent flavor ingredients to boost your product portfolio appeal. Please contact us for more information.