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{{short description|Grass of which the fruits are used as grain, or said fruits}}{{Use dmy dates|date=February 2015}}{{refimprove|date=March 2019}}{{About|cereal grasses and cereal grains in general|breakfast cereal|Breakfast cereal|food grains in general|Grain|other uses|}}{{confuse|Serial (disambiguation){{!}}serial}}(File:Various grains.jpg|thumb|Various cereals and their products)A cereal is any grass cultivated (grown) for the edible components of its grain (botanically, a type of fruit called a caryopsis), composed of the endosperm, germ, and bran. The term may also refer to the resulting grain itself (specifically "cereal grain"). Cereal grain crops are grown in greater quantities and provide more food energy worldwide than any other type of cropWEB,weblink IDRC - International Development Research Centre, no,weblink 9 June 2016, dmy-all, and are therefore staple crops. Edible grains from other plant families, such as buckwheat (Polygonaceae), quinoa (Amaranthaceae) and chia (Lamiaceae), are referred to as pseudocereals.In their natural, unprocessed, whole grain form, cereals are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, oils, and protein. When processed by the removal of the bran, and germ, the remaining endosperm is mostly carbohydrate. In some developing countries, grain in the form of rice, wheat, millet, or maize constitutes a majority of daily sustenance. In developed countries, cereal consumption is moderate and varied but still substantial.The word cereal is derived from Ceres, the Roman goddess of harvest and agriculture.BOOK, Spaeth, Barbette Stanley, The Roman goddess Ceres, 1996, University of Texas Press, 0292776934, 1st,


Ancient history

{{Further information|Neolithic Revolution}}File:Trilla del trigo en el Antiguo Egipto.jpg|thumb|Threshing of grain in ancient Egyptancient Egypt(File:Roman harvester, Trier.jpg|thumb|Roman harvesting machine)Agriculture allowed for the support of an increased population, leading to larger societies and eventually the development of cities. It also created the need for greater organization of political power (and the creation of social stratification), as decisions had to be made regarding labor and harvest allocation and access rights to water and land. Agriculture bred immobility, as populations settled down for long periods of time, which led to the accumulation of material goods.WEB,weblink Living the Revolution, DK Jordan, 24 November 2012, The Neolithic, University of California – San Diego, 22 April 2013, no,weblink" title="">weblink 29 October 2013, dmy-all, Early Neolithic villages show evidence of the development of processing grain. The Levant is the ancient home of the ancestors of wheat, barley and peas, in which many of these villages were based. There is evidence of the cultivation of cereals in Syria approximately 9,000 years ago. During the same period, farmers in China began to farm rice and millet, using man-made floods and fires as part of their cultivation regimen.MAGAZINE,weblink The Development of Agriculture, National Geographic, 22 April 2013, yes,weblink 14 April 2016, Fiber crops were domesticated as early as food crops, with China domesticating hemp, cotton being developed independently in Africa and South America, and Western Asia domesticating flax.BOOK, Plant evolution and the origin of crop species, 119, Hancock, James F.,weblink CABI, 2012, 978-1-84593-801-7, 3rd, The use of soil amendments, including manure, fish, compost and ashes, appears to have begun early, and developed independently in several areas of the world, including Mesopotamia, the Nile Valley and Eastern Asia.BOOK,weblink 46, UN Industrial Development Organization, International Fertilizer Development Center, The Fertilizer Manual, Springer, 1998, 3rd, 978-0-7923-5032-3, The first cereal grains were domesticated by early primitive humans.BOOK,weblink Cereal Grains: Properties, Processing, and Nutritional Attributes, Serna-Saldivar, Sergio, 535, 2010, 22 June 2015, no,weblink 22 June 2015, dmy-all, 978-1-4398-8209-2, About 8,000 years ago, they were domesticated by ancient farming communities in the Fertile Crescent region. Emmer wheat, einkorn wheat, and barley were three of the so-called Neolithic founder crops in the development of agriculture. Around the same time, millets and rices were starting to become domesticated in East Asia. Sorghum and millets were also being domesticated in sub-Saharan West Africa.

The Green Revolution

During the second half of the 20th century there was a significant increase in the production of high-yield cereal crops worldwide, especially wheat and rice, due to an initiative known as the Green Revolution.WEB,weblink Lessons from the green revolution: towards a new green revolution, Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, 5 June 2017, The green revolution was a technology package comprising material components of improved high-yielding varieties (HYVs) of two staple cereals (rice and wheat), irrigation or controlled water supply and improved moisture utilization, fertilizers and pesticides and associated management skills., no,weblink" title="">weblink 18 May 2017, dmy-all, The strategies developed by the Green Revolution focused on fending off starvation and were very successful in raising overall yields of cereal grains, but did not give sufficient relevance to nutritional quality.JOURNAL, Sands DC, Morris CE, Dratz EA, Pilgeram A, Elevating optimal human nutrition to a central goal of plant breeding and production of plant-based foods., Plant Sci, 2009, 177, 5, 377–89, 20467463, 10.1016/j.plantsci.2009.07.011, 2866137, Review, These modern high yield-cereal crops have low quality proteins, with essential amino acid deficiencies, are high in carbohydrates, and lack balanced essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other quality factors.


File:040719 172 dorset marnhull.jpg|thumb|A wheat field in Dorset, EnglandEnglandWhile each individual species has its own peculiarities, the cultivation of all cereal crops is similar. Most are annual plants; consequently one planting yields one harvest. Wheat, rye, triticale, oats, barley, and spelt are the "cool-season" cereals.{{citation needed|date=January 2011}} These are hardy plants that grow well in moderate weather and cease to grow in hot weather (approximately {{convert|30|°C|disp=sqbr}}, but this varies by species and variety). The "warm-season" cereals are tender and prefer hot weather. Barley and rye are the hardiest cereals, able to overwinter in the subarctic and Siberia. Many cool-season cereals are grown in the tropics. However, some are only grown in cooler highlands, where it may be possible to grow multiple crops per year.For the past few decades, there has also been increasing interest in perennial grain plants. This interest developed due to advantages in erosion control, reduced need for fertiliser, and potential lowered costs to the farmer. Though research is still in early stages, The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas has been able to create a few cultivars that produce a fairly good crop yield.Kunzig, Robert (April 2011) The Big Idea: Perennial Grains {{webarchive|url= |date=5 October 2011 }}. National Geographic.


File:Dinrêyes.jpg|thumb|Cereal grain seeds from left to right, top to bottom: wheat, spelt, barley, oatoatThe warm-season cereals are grown in tropical lowlands year-round and in temperate climates during the frost-free season. Rice is commonly grown in flooded fields, though some strains are grown on dry land. Other warm climate cereals, such as sorghum, are adapted to arid conditions.Cool-season cereals are well-adapted to temperate climates. Most varieties of a particular species are either winter or spring types. Winter varieties are sown in the autumn, germinate and grow vegetatively, then become dormant during winter. They resume growing in the springtime and mature in late spring or early summer. This cultivation system makes optimal use of water and frees the land for another crop early in the growing season.Winter varieties do not flower until springtime because they require vernalization: exposure to low temperatures for a genetically determined length of time. Where winters are too warm for vernalization or exceed the hardiness of the crop (which varies by species and variety), farmers grow spring varieties. Spring cereals are planted in early springtime and mature later that same summer, without vernalization. Spring cereals typically require more irrigation and yield less than winter cereals.


(File:3-piantagione, Taccuino Sanitatis, Casanatense 4182.jpg|thumb|upright=0.8|Threshing; Tacuinum Sanitatis, 14th century)Once the cereal plants have grown their seeds, they have completed their life cycle. The plants die, become brown, and dry. As soon as the parent plants and their seed kernels are reasonably dry, harvest can begin.In developed countries, cereal crops are universally machine-harvested, typically using a combine harvester, which cuts, threshes, and winnows the grain during a single pass across the field. In developing countries, a variety of harvesting methods are in use, depending on the cost of labor, from combines to hand tools such as the scythe or grain cradle.If a crop is harvested during humid weather, the grain may not dry adequately in the field to prevent spoilage during its storage. In this case, the grain is sent to a dehydrating facility, where artificial heat dries it.In North America, farmers commonly deliver their newly harvested grain to a grain elevator, a large storage facility that consolidates the crops of many farmers. The farmer may sell the grain at the time of delivery or maintain ownership of a share of grain in the pool for later sale. Storage facilities should be protected from small grain pests, rodents and birds.


(File:MaizeYield.png|thumb|right|Worldwide maize production)(File:RiceYield.png|thumb|right|Worldwide rice production)(File:WheatYield.png|thumb|right|A map of worldwide wheat production.)The following table shows the annual production of cereals in 1961,1961 is the earliest year for which FAO statistics are available. 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 ranked by 2013 production.WEB,weblink ProdSTAT, FAOSTAT, 26 December 2006, no,weblink" title="">weblink 10 February 2012, dmy-all, {| valign="top" | class="wikitable"! rowspan=2 | Grain! colspan=5 nowrap | Worldwide production (millions of metric tons)! rowspan=2 | Notes! 1961 !! 2010 !! 2011 !! 2012 !! 2013
| Maize (corn)
205 851 888 872 1016| A staple food of people in the Americas, Africa, and of livestock worldwide; often called corn in North America, Australia, and New Zealand. A large portion of maize crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption.
| RiceThe weight given is for paddy rice
285 703 725 720 745Staple food in most of Brazil (both maize and manioc/cassava were once more important and their presence is still stronger in some areas), other parts of Latin America and some other Portuguese-descended cultures, parts of Africa (even more before the Columbian exchange), most of South Asia and the Far East. Largely overridden by breadfruit (a dicot tree) during the South Pacific's part of the Austronesian peoples>Austronesian expansion.
| Wheat
222 650 699 671 713Southern Cone and much of the Greater Middle East. Wheat gluten (food)>Wheat gluten-based meat substitutes are important in the Far East (albeit less than tofu) and said to resemble meat texture more than others.
| Barley
72 124 133 133 144| Grown for malting and livestock on land too poor or too cold for wheat.
Commercial sorghum>Sorghum 41 60 58 57 61| Important staple food in Asia and Africa and popular worldwide for livestock.
| Millet
26 33 27 30 30| A group of similar but distinct cereals that form an important staple food in Asia and Africa.
| Oats
| Rye
12 12 13 15 16| Important in cold climates.
| Triticale
35 14 13 14 14.5Hybrid (biology)>Hybrid of wheat and rye, grown similarly to rye.
| Fonio
0.18 0.57 0.59 0.59 0.6| Several varieties are grown as food crops in Africa.
Maize, wheat, and rice together accounted for 89% of all cereal production worldwide in 2012, and 43% of all food calories in 2009, while the production of oats and triticale have drastically fallen from their 1960s levels.Other cereals worthy of notice, but not included in FAO statistics, include:
  • Teff, an ancient grain that is a staple in Ethiopia. It is high in fiber and protein. Its flour is often used to make injera. It can also be eaten as a warm breakfast cereal similar to farina with a chocolate or nutty flavor. Its flour and whole grain products can usually be found in natural foods stores.
  • Wild rice, grown in small amounts in North America.
Several other species of wheat have also been domesticated, some very early in the history of agriculture:
  • Spelt, a close relative of common wheat.
  • Einkorn, a wheat species with a single grain.
  • Emmer, one of the first crops domesticated in the Fertile Crescent.
  • Durum, the only tetraploid species of wheat currently cultivated, used to make semolina.
  • Kamut, an ancient relative of durum with an unknown history.
In 2013 global cereal production reached a record 2,521 million tonnes. A slight dip to 2,498 million tonnes was forecasted for 2014 by the FAO in July 2014.

Nutritional facts

Some grains are deficient in the essential amino acid, lysine. That is why many vegetarian cultures, in order to get a balanced diet, combine their diet of grains with legumes. Many legumes, however, are deficient in the essential amino acid methionine, which grains contain. Thus, a combination of legumes with grains forms a well-balanced diet for vegetarians. Common examples of such combinations are dal (lentils) with rice by South Indians and Bengalis, dal with wheat in Pakistan and North India, beans with corn tortillas, tofu with rice, and peanut butter with wheat bread (as sandwiches) in several other cultures, including the Americas.Vogel, Steven (2003). Prime Mover – A Natural History of Muscle. W.W. Norton & Company, p. 301. {{ISBN|0-393-32463-X}}. The amount of crude protein measured in grains is expressed as grain crude protein concentration.JOURNAL, Effects of Dietary Protein Concentration on Lactating Cows, Journal of Dairy Science, 63, 2, 243, 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(80)82920-1, 1980, Edwards, J.S., Bartley, E.E., Dayton, A.D., Cereals contain exogenous opioid peptides called exorphins and include opioid food peptides like Gluten exorphin and opioid food peptides. They mimic the actions of endorphines because they bind to the same opioid receptors in the brain.


The ISO has published a series of standards regarding cereal products which are covered by ICS 67.060.WEB
, International Organization for Standardization
, 67.060: Cereals, pulses and derived products
, 23 April 2009
, no
, 31 May 2012
, dmy-all

See also

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External links

{{wiktionary-inline|cereal}}{{Cereals}}{{Agriculture country lists}}{{Vegetarianism}}{{Authority control}}

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