Manganese is a metal that in very small amounts, is actually necessary for life as we know it. Manganese is normally found in such small traces that many cells express a gene that produces a protein to pump manganese into our cells from our environment. In recent times humans have been unearthing many metals that would normally be resting under the surface due to industrialization and one of these metals is manganese. Manganese is a common byproduct of industrialization and the levels in the air have been rising dramatically.
While the levels of manganese have been kept under control enough to not be harmful to us or our food directly, these high levels could be causing a much bigger problem that lacks urgency due to its subtle nature. Recent studies have shown that these high levels of manganese have drastically effected the efficiency of bees in their foraging tasks. The studies focused on how the manganese levels effected dopamine levels in the brains of bees. These altered dopamine levels caused bees to take on less foraging tasks and be less efficient in their tasks.
These facts could be very dangerous to humans and for that matter, all life on the planet. Bees are crucial to our lives and their number are already on the descent. Bees are responsible for all the fruits and vegetables we eat being pollenated so that growth can ensue. If bees were to no longer be functioning as efficiently and in lower numbers there would surely be a major decrease in the availability of fruits and vegetables which would trickle down even further to preventing the animals that we eat for meat from getting their own sufficient diets.
So while global warming and other human impacts on the Earth may be stealing the spotlight, we humans have severely affected our planet in many ways. Small, almost unnoticeable effects such as an increase in manganese levels may not seem urgent and may seem minuscule but nonetheless it can be a planet killer. If actions against the rise of these levels are not taken humans could be in for a rude awakening in the future whether it be from the downfall of our necessary companions; the bees, or from human brains being affected in the same way once the levels of manganese climb to a detrimental point.
This is the article from which I learned most of this stuff if anyone wants to go check it out. ://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/03/150324210043.htm
Cullan Bartel, Group A