Toronto Metropolitan University
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Nutritional change due to climate warming: an analysis of fatty acid content of pasture plants common to Southern Ontario

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posted on 2021-05-24, 13:21 authored by Emily Morris
Climate change will produce a wide range of challenges for grassland ecosystems, including increased global surface air temperature. Increased temperature can increase cell membrane fluidity in plants and other organisms; a response known as homeoviscous adaptation. However, this phenomenon has not been extensively studied in grassland plant species and has not been widely observed in plants from a climate warming perspective. I exposed seven species of agricultural forage plants to a temperature gradient consistent with climate change estimates for Southern Ontario. I compared relative fatty acid composition between temperature conditions, paying particular attention to the relative content of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated fatty acids, and essential fatty acids. For most species, I found saturated fatty acid content decreased with increasing temperature, while polyunsaturated fatty acid content and essential fatty acid content increased with increasing temperature. My thesis provides insights into the effects of climate warming on pasture ecosystems.





  • Master of Science


  • Molecular Science

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis