A grain is a small, hard, dry – with or without an attached or layer – harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are s and . After being harvested, dry grains are more durable than other s, such as starchy fruits (s, , etc.) and s (es, , and more). This durability has made grains well suited to , since they can be mechanically ed, transported by rail or ship, stored for long periods in s, and for or for . Thus, major global s exist for , , , and other grains but not for tubers, vegetables, or other crops.

Grains and cereal

Grains and cereal are synonymous with , the fruits of the family. In agronomy and commerce, seeds or fruits from other plant families are called grains if they resemble caryopses. For example, is sold as "", and amaranth products may be described as "whole grains". The pre-Hispanic civilizations of the Andes had grain-based food systems, but at higher elevations none of the grains was a . All three grains native to the Andes (, , and ) are broad-leafed plants rather than grasses such as corn, rice, and wheat.


Cereal grains

All crops are members of the grass family (). Cereal grains contain a substantial amount of , a that provides dietary energy.

Warm-season cereals

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Cool-season cereals

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Pseudocereal grains

Starchy grains from broadleaf (dicot) plant families: * () * () * () * (, formerly classified as ) * *


or grain s, members of the , have a higher protein content than most other plant foods, at around 20%, while soybeans have as much as 35%. As is the case with all other whole plant foods, pulses also contain carbohydrates and fat. Common pulses include: * * *common s (garden peas) * * * * * *s * * *


Oilseed grains are grown primarily for the extraction of their . Vegetable oils provide dietary energy and some s. They are also used as fuel and lubricants.

Mustard family

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Aster family

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Other families

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Historical impact of grain agriculture

Because grains are small, hard and dry, they can be stored, measured, and transported more readily than can other kinds of food crops such as fresh fruits, roots and tubers. The development of grain agriculture allowed excess food to be produced and stored easily which could have led to the creation of the first permanent settlements and the division of society into classes.

Occupational safety and health

Those who handle grain at grain facilities may encounter numerous . Risks include , where workers are submerged in the grain and unable to remove themselves; caused by fine particles of , and .

See also

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{{DEFAULTSORT:Grain Types of food