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Climate change expected to decrease yields of important ketchup ingredient, according to study

The study comes from UT Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences and other institutions.

AUSTIN, Texas — Climate change could be a culprit in curbing ketchup quantities, according to the University of Texas at Austin's Jackson School of Geosciences.

A study researchers from the geoscience school worked on found that rising temperatures are expected to decrease yields of the cultivar used in ketchup as well as other tomato products. The cultivar, also called "processing tomatoes" in the study, is anticipated to experience a global 6% supply decrease by 2050. 

“We know very little about how climate change will affect specialty crops, like the processing tomato, which has an incredible global food footprint, along with being an important source of nutrients and an ingredient in cuisines around the world,” said Dev Niyogi, Jackson School professor and study co-author, in a statement. “This study is one of the first such global studies and this makes it unique.”

Niyogi said most studies on climate change and food have focused on staple crops such as wheat and rice rather than tomatoes. 

China, Italy and the U.S. – the top three producers of tomatoes in the world – were at the center of the study. Researchers utilized five climate models on three separate scenarios involving climate change's impact on tomato yields.

“A significant number of the processing tomato industries currently are placed in Italy, and they need to prepare for a future with a limited supply of tomatoes from local regions,” said Davide Cammarano, lead author and Aarhus University professor.

Aarhus University, Purdue University, University of Florida, University of Salerno and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies researchers all contributed to the study alongside researchers from UT's Jackson School.


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