Increase in CO2 may mean goodbye to pasta al dente in 30-40 years
The estimated increase of carbon dioxide concentration of 30-40 percent over the next 40 years could affect the texture of pasta al dente, pride of the Italian table.
Researchers have studied the behavior of 12 varieties of durum wheat grown in field conditions in an atmosphere containing about 570 ppm of CO2, which is the concentration expected in 2050. The result showed a general increase in plant biomass and production of grain, however, this was associated with a decrease in the protein content.
The increase in plant biomass and production is a direct consequence of the effect of CO2 fertilizer. In some varieties production increase reached up to 20 percent as protein content influenced the “tightness” of the cooked pasta. The only solution to this issue would be a forward-looking, genetic improvement that could create new varieties to yield to the increase in atmospheric CO2 in order to avoid or reduce the negative impact on the quality of the product.
With the help of technology that can predict the foreseeable future, the Barilla Group has developed wheat varieties with characteristics adapted to different climates and assures consumers that the issue poses “no problems for Italian pasta.”