London: Good health is unthinkable without the tireless efforts of the humble honeybees, butterflies other pollinators.
Thanks to their presence, an abundance of vitamins and minerals from fruits, berries and vegetables are easily available for human consumption.
Researchers showed that globally "animal-pollinated crops contain the majority of the available dietary lipid, vitamin A, C and E, and a large portion of the minerals- calcium, fluoride, and iron worldwide.
"The yield increase attributable to animal-dependent pollination of these crops is significant and could have a potentially drastic effect on human nutrition if jeopardized," researchers said, reports the journal Public Libary of Science ONE.
The study was carried out by pollination ecologists and a nutrition expert, from the Leuphana University of Lüneburg, University of Berlin, both in Germany, and the University of California at Berkeley and San Francisco.
More specifically, the team showed that in the global crop supply, several key vitamins and other nutrients related to lower risk for cancer and heart disease are present predominantly in crops propagated by pollinators, like honeybees and butterflies, among others.
These include the carotenoids lycopene and ß-cryptoxanthin, which are found in brightly coloured red, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables.
Other important antioxidants, including several forms of vitamin E and more than 90 percent of the available vitamin C, are provided by crops that are pollinated by bees and other animals.
Key minerals for the development of bones and teeth, including more than 50 percent of calcium and fluoride available in the global food supply, are present in crops produced with pollinators.