, Volume 43, Issue 5, pp 625–633 | Cite as

Socioeconomic Driving Factors of Nitrogen Load from Food Consumption and Preventive Measures

  • Chen Liu
  • Jinling Fei
  • Yoshitsugu Hayashi
  • Tetsuzo Yasunari


To diagnose environmental nitrogen (N) load from food consumption and to suggest preventive measures, this study identified relationships between nitrogen load from food consumption and driving factors by examining six representative countries and regions for the period 1970–2009 as an example. The logarithmic mean Divisia index technique was used to disassemble nitrogen load growth into four driving factors: population, economic activity, food intensity of the economy, and nitrogen content of food. In all study areas, increased economic activity was the main factor driving nitrogen load increase. The positive effect of population growth was relatively small but not negligible and changes in food intensity had a decreasing effect on nitrogen load. Changes in nitrogen content of food varied between areas. Broad strategies to reduce and mitigate nitrogen loading and decouple nitrogen load from economic growth in both developed and developing countries are suggested.


Decomposition analysis Food consumption Nitrogen load Economic activity Food intensity of the economy Nitrogen content of food 



This study was supported by the Nagoya University Global Center of Excellence Program “From Earth System Science to Basic and Clinical Environmental Studies” (FY2009-2013) and by the Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) “Diagnosis methods and preventive treatment measures for the impact of human activities on urban ecosystems” (2013–2015) sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS).


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Copyright information

© Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chen Liu
    • 1
  • Jinling Fei
    • 1
  • Yoshitsugu Hayashi
    • 1
  • Tetsuzo Yasunari
    • 2
  1. 1.Graduate School of Environmental StudiesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan
  2. 2.Research Institute for Humanity and NatureKyotoJapan

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