Grain Characteristics

The harvested grain of some cereals (wheat, maize, rye, sorghum, and some millets) comprises, botani-cally, a caryopsis. In other cereals (barley, oats, rice, and some millets) the harvested grain generally includes a hull (or husk) that encloses the caryopsis. The hull is tough and very high in fiber. It is unsuitable for human nutrition and is removed in primary

Table 1 World production of cereals 2000; figures are in thousands of tonnes

Total

Ricea

Maize

Wheat

Barley

Sorghum

Millets

Oats

Rye

Otherb

World

2 063578

602 610

591 988

585297

134421

56044

27 636

26394

19 642

19 546

Asia (excluding China

592 016

359375

42 707

154 299

15 021

8538

10 999

516

389

172

and the Russian

Federation)

North and Central

427 528

10917

279 404

90780

20 826

18 265

166

6063

473

634

America

China

407 328

189814

106180

99636

3346

2608

2126

650

650

2318

Europe (excluding the

320 442

2 567

61 782

149039

70383

685

439

10 677

12 544

12 326

Russian Federation)

Africa

112149

17 649

44 409

14 328

2081

18 630

12 679

194

30

2149

South America

104 275

20583

55407

20199

1 543

5083

48

1 128

135

149

Russian Federation

64 342

586

1 500

34 500

14100

116

1 122

6000

5400

1 018

Oceania

35498

1 119

599

22 516

7121

2119

57

1 166

21

780

aPaddy (rough) rice.

includes other cereals, pseudocereals, mixed grains, and their products not accounted for elsewhere. Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAOSTAT data at http://faostat.fao.org/accessed May 2003.

aPaddy (rough) rice.

includes other cereals, pseudocereals, mixed grains, and their products not accounted for elsewhere. Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAOSTAT data at http://faostat.fao.org/accessed May 2003.

processing. The caryopsis is the edible part of the cereal grain. Cereal caryopses all have the same basic structure. The major part is the endosperm (63-91% of the total). The endosperm is high in starch and contains nutritionally significant amounts of protein. Enclosing the endosperm are cell layers, amounting to 5-20% of the caryopsis, which form the bran that is often separated from the endosperm during milling processes. The embryo, which is found at one end of the caryopsis, accounts for 2.5-12% of its weight. The embryo is the major component of the germ fraction, which is separated in some milling processes.

At harvest, cereal grains have a low moisture content (12-16%), and they are hard and inedible without processing. Some grain types may be subjected to simple milling procedures and made into palatable unleavened products; others are subjected to more complex milling procedures and further processed into leavened, extruded, or fermented products using technologically advanced processes.

Food use of cereals is shown in Table 2. From this it can be seen that rice and wheat are the major world food cereals, and maize is important in some regions. However, the data in Table 2 represent food use of the crops. Since varying proportions of these crops will be lost in milling, the actual consumption levels may be substantially less.

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