Biodiversity and food

Biodiversity and food

Biodiversity provides high variety of food: crops, livestock, forestry, and fish, which are important food source of human species. A wide range of species provides many thousands of food products, such as, fruits,Vegetables,nuts,meat,and food additives in form of food colourings,flavourings and preseratives, through agriculture and from the harvest of natural populations.


Conservation and management of broad-based genetic diversity within the domesticated species have been improving agricultural production for 10,000 years. However, diverse natural populations have been providing food and other products for much longer. High Biodiversity can maximize the production levels, which is sustained through beneficial impact of ecosystem services for agricultural, modified and natural ecosystems.


Wild subspecies of tomatoes ("Solanum lycopersicum chmielewskii") was crossbreed with cultivated tomato species.After 10 generations, New tomatoes strain with larger fruits were produced. There was a marked increase in pigmentation. The content of soluble solid, mainly fructose, glucose and other sugar are increased.H.H.Iltis (1988). "Serendipity in the Exploration of Biodiversity." In: E.O. Wilson, editor. "Biodiversity". National Academy Press. 98-105.]


A barley plant from Ethiopia provide a gene that protect the barley crop from lethal yellow drawf virus.M.J.Plotkin. 1988. "The Outlook for New Agricultural and Industrial Products from the Tropics". In: E.O. Wilson, Editor. Biodiversity. National Academy Press]


Host resistance gene, Xa21,from "Oryza longistaminata" is integrated into the genome of "Oryza sativa" for the board range resistance of rice blight disease caused by "Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae" [ [ Rice Genetics Newsletter, Vol. 20: Evaluation of durable resistance of transgenic hybrid maintainer line IR58025B for bacterial blight disease of rice] ]

Maintenance of Food Production

A wide range of biologically diverse populations in natural ecosystems and in and near agricultural ecosystems maintain essential ecological functions which is necessary for the production of food. For example, nutrient cycling, decomposition of organic matter, crusted or degraded soil rehabilitation, pest and disease regulation, maintaining water quality, and pollination.Maintaining this diversity of species and building on and enhancing ecosystem functions reduces external input requirements by increased nutrient availability, improved water use and soil structure, and natural control of pests.

New Crops and Biodiversity

Very small proportion of plant species have been the food source on a large scales.Relying on too few species of crops and animals is a threat to the survival of Human. It is illustrated by the Great Irish Potato Famine.Potatoes were introduced into Ireland from the New World in about 1600 and it became the major food source of most of the Irish people eventually. The wind-borne Potato blight fungus spread throughout the country In 1845-1847. and caused almost complete failure of the potato crop. It is estimated that 1 million people died of starvation, cholera and typhoid. [ [ Values Of Biodiversity ] ]

New crops are being found in the rest of plant species to widen the diversity of food source, which avoid to rely on few species too much.

ee also

* Biodiversity
* Agricultural biodiversity


External links

* [ Biological Diversity in Food and Agriculture] by FAO

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