The role of mineral depletion on insect depopulation
By Neil Stacey
It has been established that the mineral content, particularly of trace minerals, in modern food crops is considerably lower than in their natural forms, a phenomenon that arises as a result of a number of causes. Intense fertilization methods, selective breeding of crop species, topsoil erosion and even plant morphology responses to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide all contribute to radically depleted mineral content in cultivated crops. Wild plants can be expected to exhibit the same phenomenon, albeit to a lesser extent. This depletion could be expected to have significant nutritional implications for terrestrial animals. This effect would be more pronounced for insects than for feral grazing mammals, as the former have greater mobility to access and consume cultivated crops, which have the lowest mineral contents.
It has also been observed that insect populations have plummeted in the last 50 years, with no consensus as to the contributing causes and their respective severity. The role of nutritional deficiencies arising from mineral depletion has yet to be investigated, and could be a significant contributor to insect de-population.