CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Like atmospheric methane and carbon dioxide, ground-level ozone is on the rise. But ozone, a noxious chemical byproduct of fossil fuel combustion, has received relatively little attention as a potential threat to corn agriculture.
A new study begins to address this lapse by exposing a genetically diverse group of corn plants in the field to future ozone levels. The study, reported in the journal Global Change Biology, found that some members of the corn family tree are more susceptible than others to yield losses under high ozone air pollution. Discovering the genetic underpinnings of those differences could help plant scientists develop ozone-resistant corn, the researchers said.