Rice is the seed of the grass species
Oryza sativa (Asian rice) or
Oryza glaberrima (African rice). As a cereal grain, it is the most
widely consumed staple food for a large part of the world's human
population, especially in Asia. It is the agricultural commodity with
the third-highest worldwide production (rice, 741.5 million tonnes in
2014), after sugarcane (1.9 billion tonnes) and maize (1.0 billion
Oryza sativa with small wind-pollinated flowers
Since sizable portions of sugarcane and maize crops are used for
purposes other than human consumption, rice is the most important
grain with regard to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing
more than one-fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans.
There are many varieties of rice and culinary preferences tend to vary
Cooked brown rice from Bhutan
Rice can come in many shapes, colours and sizes.
Rice, a monocot, is normally grown as an annual plant, although in
tropical areas it can survive as a perennial and can produce a ratoon
crop for up to 30 years.
Rice cultivation is well-suited to
countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is
labor-intensive to cultivate and requires ample water. However, rice
can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain
area with the use of water-controlling terrace systems. Although its
parent species are native to Asia and certain parts of Africa,
centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many
Oryza sativa, commonly known as Asian rice
The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields
while, or after, setting the young seedlings. This simple method
requires sound planning and servicing of the water damming and
channeling, but reduces the growth of less robust weed and pest plants
that have no submerged growth state, and deters vermin. While flooding
is not mandatory for the cultivation of rice, all other methods of
irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during
growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil.
The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera Zizania
and Porteresia, both wild and domesticated, although the term may also
be used for primitive or uncultivated varieties of Oryza.
4.2 Arsenic concerns
4.3 Bacillus cereus
5 Rice-growing environments
6 History of domestication and cultivation
7 Regional history
7.2.3 Sri Lanka
7.2.5 Companion plant
7.3 Middle East
7.5 Caribbean and
7.6 United States
8 Production and commerce
8.3 Harvesting, drying and milling
8.6 World's most productive rice farms and farmers
9.1 Worldwide consumption
10 Environmental impacts
10.3 Solar radiation
10.4 Atmospheric water vapor
11 Pests and diseases
11.4 Other pests
11.5 Integrated pest management
11.6 Parasitic weeds
12 Ecotypes and cultivars
13.1 High-yielding varieties
13.2 Future potential
13.3 Golden rice
13.4 Expression of human proteins
13.5 Flood-tolerant rice
13.6 Drought-tolerant rice
13.7 Salt-tolerant rice
13.8 Environment-friendly rice
14 Meiosis and DNA repair
15 Cultural roles of rice
16 See also
18 Further reading
19 External links
First used in English in the middle of the 13th century, the word
"rice" derives from the
Old French ris, which comes from Italian riso,
in turn from the
Latin oriza, which derives from the Greek ὄρυζα
(oruza). The Greek word is the source of all European words (cf. Welsh
reis, German Reis, Lithuanian ryžiai, Serbo-Croatian riža, Polish
ryż, Dutch rijst, Hungarian rizs, Romanian orez).
The origin of the Greek word is unclear. It is sometimes held to be
from the Tamil word (arisi), or rather Old Tamil arici. However,
Krishnamurti disagrees with the notion that Old Tamil arici is the
source of the Greek term, and proposes that it was borrowed from
descendants of Proto-Dravidian *wariñci instead. Mayrhofer
suggests that the immediate source of the Greek word is to be sought
in Old Iranian words of the types *vrīz- or *vrinj- (Source of the
modern Persian word Berenj), but these are ultimately traced back to
Indo-Aryan (as in
P. T. Srinivasa Iyengar assumed
Sanskrit vrīhí- is derived from the Tamil arici, while
Ferdinand Kittel derived it from the Dravidian root variki. However,
R. Swaminatha Aiyar believes that the
Sanskrit vrīhí- is derived
from a Proto-Indo-Iranian root, and the Old Tamil arici is also of
The rice plant can grow to 1–1.8 m (3.3–5.9 ft) tall,
occasionally more depending on the variety and soil fertility. It has
long, slender leaves 50–100 cm (20–39 in) long and
2–2.5 cm (0.79–0.98 in) broad. The small wind-pollinated
flowers are produced in a branched arching to pendulous inflorescence
30–50 cm (12–20 in) long. The edible seed is a grain
(caryopsis) 5–12 mm (0.20–0.47 in) long and
2–3 mm (0.079–0.118 in) thick.
tteumul, water from the washing of rice
The varieties of rice are typically classified as long-, medium-, and
short-grained. The grains of long-grain rice (high in amylose)
tend to remain intact after cooking; medium-grain rice (high in
amylopectin) becomes more sticky. Medium-grain rice is used for sweet
dishes, for risotto in Italy, and many rice dishes, such as arròs
negre, in Spain. Some varieties of long-grain rice that are high in
amylopectin, known as Thai Sticky rice, are usually steamed. A
stickier medium-grain rice is used for sushi; the stickiness allows
rice to hold its shape when molded. Medium-grain rice is used
extensively in Japan, including to accompany savoury dishes, where it
is usually served plain in a separate dish. Short-grain rice is often
used for rice pudding.
Instant rice differs from parboiled rice in that it is fully cooked
and then dried, though there is a significant degradation in taste and
Rice flour and starch often are used in batters and breadings
to increase crispiness.
Milled to unmilled rice, from left to right, white rice (Japanese
rice), rice with germ, brown rice
Rice with chaff
B: Brown rice
Rice with germ
White rice with bran residue
E: Musenmai (Japanese: 無洗米), "Polished and ready to boil rice",
literally, non-wash rice
Rice is typically rinsed before cooking to remove excess starch. Rice
produced in the US is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals,
and rinsing will result in a loss of nutrients.
Rice may be rinsed
repeatedly until the rinse water is clear to improve the texture and
Rice may be soaked to decrease cooking time, conserve fuel, minimize
exposure to high temperature, and reduce stickiness. For some
varieties, soaking improves the texture of the cooked rice by
increasing expansion of the grains.
Rice may be soaked for 30 minutes
up to several hours.
Brown rice may be soaked in warm water for 20 hours to stimulate
germination. This process, called germinated brown rice (GBR),
activates enzymes and enhances amino acids including
gamma-aminobutyric acid to improve the nutritional value of brown
rice. This method is a result of research carried out for the United
Nations International Year of Rice.
Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming, and absorbs water during
cooking. With the absorption method, rice may be cooked in a volume of
water similar to the volume of rice. With the rapid-boil method, rice
may be cooked in a large quantity of water which is drained before
serving. Rapid-boil preparation is not desirable with enriched rice,
as much of the enrichment additives are lost when the water is
discarded. Electric rice cookers, popular in Asia and
simplify the process of cooking rice.
Rice (or any other grain) is
sometimes quickly fried in oil or fat before boiling (for example
saffron rice or risotto); this makes the cooked rice less sticky, and
is a cooking style commonly called pilaf in
Main article: List of rice dishes
In Arab cuisine, rice is an ingredient of many soups and dishes with
fish, poultry, and other types of meat. It is also used to stuff
vegetables or is wrapped in grape leaves (dolma). When combined with
milk, sugar, and honey, it is used to make desserts. In some regions,
such as Tabaristan, bread is made using rice flour. Medieval Islamic
texts spoke of medical uses for the plant.
Rice may also be made
into congee (also called rice porridge or rice gruel) by adding more
water than usual, so that the cooked rice is saturated with water,
usually to the point that it disintegrates.
Rice porridge is commonly
eaten as a breakfast food, and is also a traditional food for the
Cooked, unenriched, white, long-grained rice is composed of 68% water,
28% carbohydrates, 3% protein, and negligible fat (table). In a 100
gram serving, it provides 130 calories and contains no micronutrients
in significant amounts, with all less than 10% of the
Daily Value (DV)
(table). Cooked, white, short-grained rice also provides 130 calories
and contains moderate amounts of B vitamins, iron, and manganese
(10–17% DV) per 100 gram amount (table).
A detailed analysis of nutrient content of rice suggests that the
nutrition value of rice varies based on a number of factors. It
depends on the strain of rice, that is between white, brown, red, and
black (or purple) varieties of rice – each prevalent in different
parts of the world. It also depends on nutrient quality of the soil
rice is grown in, whether and how the rice is polished or processed,
the manner it is enriched, and how it is prepared before
Rice is the staple food of over half the world's population. It is the
predominant dietary energy source for 17 countries in Asia and the
Pacific, 9 countries in North and South America and 8 countries in
Rice provides 20% of the world’s dietary energy supply,
while wheat supplies 19% and maize (corn) 5%.
Nutrient content of major staple foods per 100 g portion
Maize / Corn[A]
Vitamin C (mg)
Niacin (B3) (mg)
Pantothenic acid (B5) (mg)
Vitamin B6 (mg)
Folate Total (B9) (μg)
Vitamin A (IU)
Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol (mg)
Vitamin K1 (μg)
Saturated fatty acids (g)
Monounsaturated fatty acids (g)
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g)
A yellow corn
B raw unenriched long-grain white rice
C hard red winter wheat
D raw potato with flesh and skin
E raw cassava
F raw green soybeans
G raw sweet potato
H raw sorghum
Y raw yam
Z raw plantains
I raw long-grain brown rice
Rice, white, long-grain, regular, unenriched, cooked without salt
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
130 kcal (540 kJ)
Pantothenic acid (B5)
Link to USDA Database entry
μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Rice, white, short-grain, cooked
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
544 kJ (130 kcal)
Pantothenic acid (B5)
μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
IU = International units
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for
Source: USDA Nutrient Database
Main article: Arsenic toxicity
As arsenic is a natural element in soil, water, and air, the United
Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors the levels of
arsenic in foods, particularly in rice products used commonly for
infant food. While growing, rice plants tend to absorb arsenic
more readily than other food crops, requiring expanded testing by the
FDA for possible arsenic-related risks associated with rice
consumption in the United States. In April 2016, the FDA proposed
a limit of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant
rice cereal and other foods to minimize exposure of infants to
arsenic. For water contamination by arsenic, the United States
Environmental Protection Agency
Environmental Protection Agency has set a lower standard of 10
Arsenic is a Group 1 carcinogen. The amount of arsenic in rice
varies widely with the greatest concentration in brown rice and rice
grown on land formerly used to grow cotton, such as in Arkansas,
Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas.
White rice grown in Arkansas,
Louisiana, Missouri, and Texas, which account collectively for 76
percent of American-produced rice, had higher levels of arsenic than
other regions of the world studied, possibly because of past use of
arsenic-based pesticides to control cotton weevils. Jasmine rice
Basmati rice from
India contain the
least arsenic among rice varieties in one study.
China has set a
limit of 150 ppb for arsenic in rice.
Cooked rice can contain
Bacillus cereus spores, which produce an
emetic toxin when left at 4–60 °C (39–140 °F). When
storing cooked rice for use the next day, rapid cooling is advised to
reduce the risk of toxin production. One of the enterotoxins
Bacillus cereus is heat-resistant; reheating contaminated
rice kills the bacteria, but does not destroy the toxin already
Rice can be grown in different environments, depending upon water
availability. Generally, rice does not thrive in a waterlogged
area, yet it can survive and grow herein and it can also survive
Lowland, rainfed, which is drought prone, favors medium depth;
waterlogged, submergence, and flood prone
Lowland, irrigated, grown in both the wet season and the dry season
Deep water or floating rice
Upland rice is also known as Ghaiya rice, well known for its drought
History of domestication and cultivation
Rice broker in 1820s
Japan of the
Edo period ("36 Views of Mount Fuji"
Oryza sativa § History of domestication and
Wild rice, from which the crop was developed, may have its native
range in Australia. Chinese legends attribute the domestication of
rice to Shennong, the legendary emperor of
China and inventor of
Chinese agriculture. Genetic evidence has shown that rice
originates from a single domestication 8,200–13,500 years ago in
the Pearl River valley region of Ancient China. Previously,
archaeological evidence had suggested that rice was domesticated in
Yangtze River valley region in China.
From East Asia, rice was spread to Southeast and South Asia. Rice
was introduced to Europe through Western Asia, and to the Americas
through European colonization.
There have been many debates on the origins of the domesticated rice.
Genetic evidence published in the Proceedings of the National Academy
of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) shows that all
forms of Asian rice, both indica and japonica, spring from a single
domestication that occurred 8,200–13,500 years ago in
China of the
Oryza rufipogon. A 2012 study published in Nature,
through a map of rice genome variation, indicated that the
domestication of rice occurred in the Pearl River valley region of
China based on the genetic evidence. From East Asia, rice was spread
to South and Southeast Asia. Before this research, the commonly
accepted view, based on archaeological evidence, is that rice was
first domesticated in the region of the
Yangtze River valley in
Morphological studies of rice phytoliths from the Diaotonghuan
archaeological site clearly show the transition from the collection of
wild rice to the cultivation of domesticated rice. The large number of
wild rice phytoliths at the Diaotonghuan level dating from
12,000–11,000 BP indicates that wild rice collection was part of the
local means of subsistence. Changes in the morphology of Diaotonghuan
phytoliths dating from 10,000–8,000 BP show that rice had by this
time been domesticated. Soon afterwards the two major varieties of
indica and japonica rice were being grown in Central China. In the
late 3rd millennium BC, there was a rapid expansion of rice
cultivation into mainland Southeast Asia and westwards across India
In 2003, Korean archaeologists claimed to have discovered the world's
oldest domesticated rice. Their 15,000-year-old age challenges the
accepted view that rice cultivation originated in
China about 12,000
years ago. These findings were received by academia with strong
skepticism, and the results and their publicizing has been cited
as being driven by a combination of nationalist and regional
interests. In 2011, a combined effort by the Stanford University,
New York University, Washington University in St. Louis, and Purdue
University has provided the strongest evidence yet that there is only
one single origin of domesticated rice, in the
Yangtze Valley of
Rice spread to the Middle East where, according to Zohary and Hopf
(2000, p. 91), O. sativa was recovered from a grave at
Iran (dated to the 1st century AD).
Rice crop in Madagascar
African rice has been cultivated for 3500 years. Between 1500 and 800
Oryza glaberrima propagated from its original centre, the Niger
River delta, and extended to Senegal. However, it never developed far
from its original region. Its cultivation even declined in favour of
the Asian species, which was introduced to East Africa early in the
common era and spread westward.
African rice helped Africa conquer
its famine of 1203.
Ricefields at Santa Maria, Bulacan, Philippines
Rice fields in Dili, East Timor
Indian women separating rice from straw
Cambodian women planting rice.
Today, the majority of all rice produced comes from China, India,
Indonesia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Pakistan,
Philippines, Korea and Japan. Asian farmers still account for 87% of
the world's total rice production.
Rice is the major food amongst all the ethnic groups in Nepal. In the
Terai, most rice varieties are cultivated during the rainy season. The
principal rice growing season, known as "Berna-Bue Charne", is from
June to July when water is sufficient for only a part of the fields;
the subsidiary season, known as "Ropai, is from April to September,
when there is usually enough water to sustain the cultivation of all
rice fields. Farmers use irrigation channels throughout the
cultivation seasons.
Banaue Rice Terraces
Banaue Rice Terraces (Filipino: Hagdan-hagdang Palayan ng Banawe)
are 2,000-year-old terraces that were carved into the mountains of
Ifugao in the
Philippines by ancestors of the indigenous people. The
Rice Terraces are commonly referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the
World". It is commonly thought that the terraces were
built with minimal equipment, largely by hand. The terraces are
located approximately 1500 meters (5000 ft) above sea level. They
are fed by an ancient irrigation system from the rainforests above the
terraces. It is said that if the steps were put end to end, it would
encircle half the globe. The terraces are found in the province of
Ifugao and the
Ifugao people have been its caretakers.
revolves around rice and the culture displays an elaborate array
of celebrations linked with agricultural rites from rice cultivation
to rice consumption. The harvest season generally calls for
thanksgiving feasts, while the concluding harvest rites called tango
or tungul (a day of rest) entails a strict taboo on any agricultural
work. Partaking of the bayah (rice beer), rice cakes, and betel nut
constitutes an indelible practise during the festivities.
Ifugao people practice traditional farming spending most of their
labor at their terraces and forest lands while occasionally tending to
root crop cultivation. The Ifugaos have also been known to culture
edible shells, fruit trees, and other vegetables which have been
exhibited among Ifugaos for generations. The building of the rice
terraces consists of blanketing walls with stones and earth which are
designed to draw water from a main irrigation canal above the terrace
clusters. Indigenous rice terracing technologies have been identified
with the Ifugao’s rice terraces such as their knowledge of water
irrigation, stonework, earthwork and terrace maintenance. As their
source of life and art, the rice terraces have sustained and shaped
the lives of the community members.
Rice is the staple food amongst all the ethnic groups in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka mainly depends on the rice cultivation. Rice
production is acutely dependent on rainfall and government supply
necessity of water through irrigation channels throughout the
cultivation seasons. The principal cultivation season, known as
"Maha", is from October to March and the subsidiary cultivation
season, known as "Yala", is from April to September. During Maha
season, there is usually enough water to sustain the cultivation of
all rice fields, nevertheless in Yala season there is only enough
water for cultivation of half of the land extent.
Traditional rice varieties are now making a comeback with the recent
interest in green foods.
Rice production in Thailand
Rice is the main export of Thailand, especially white jasmine rice 105
(Dok Mali 105).
Thailand has a large number of rice varieties,
3,500 kinds with different characters, and five kinds of wild rice
cultivates. In each region of the country there are different rice
seed types. Their use depends on weather, atmosphere, and
The northern region has both low lands and high lands. The farmers'
usual crop is non-glutinous rice such as Niew Sun Pah Tong rice.
This rice is naturally protected from leaf disease, and its paddy
(unmilled rice) (Thai: ข้าวเปลือก) has a brown
color. The northeastern region is a large area where farmers can
cultivate about 36 million square meters of rice. Although most of it
is plains and dry areas, white jasmine rice 105—the most famous
Thai rice—can be grown there. White jasmine rice was developed in
Chonburi Province first and after that grown in many areas in the
country, but the rice from this region has a high quality, because
it's softer, whiter, and more fragrant. This rice can resist
drought, acidic soil, and alkaline soil.
The central region is mostly composed of plains. Most farmers grow Jao
rice. For example, Pathum Thani 1 rice which has qualities similar
to white jasmine 105 rice. Its paddy has the color of thatch and the
cooked rice has fragrant grains also.
In the southern region, most farmers transplant around boundaries to
the flood plains or on the plains between mountains. Farming in the
region is slower than other regions because the rainy season comes
later. The popular rice varieties in this area are the Leb Nok
Pattani seeds, a type of Jao rice. Its paddy has the color of thatch
and it can be processed to make noodles.
One of the earliest known examples of companion planting is the
growing of rice with Azolla, the mosquito fern, which covers the top
of a fresh rice paddy's water, blocking out any competing plants, as
well as fixing nitrogen from the atmosphere for the rice to use. The
rice is planted when it is tall enough to poke out above the azolla.
This method has been used for at least a thousand years.
Rice was grown in some areas of
Mesopotamia (southern Iraq). With the
rise of Islam it moved north to Nisibin, the southern shores of the
Caspian Sea (in Gilan and
Mazanderan provinces of Iran) and then
beyond the Muslim world into the valley of the Volga. In Egypt, rice
is mainly grown in the Nile Delta. In Palestine, rice came to be grown
in the Jordan Valley.
Rice is also grown in Saudi Arabia at Al-Hasa
Oasis and in Yemen.
Rice was known to the Classical world, being imported from Egypt, and
perhaps west Asia. It was known to Greece (where it is still
cultivated in Macedonia and Thrace) by returning soldiers from
Alexander the Great's military expedition to Asia. Large deposits of
rice from the first century AD have been found in Roman camps in
The Moors brought Asiatic rice to the
Iberian Peninsula in the 10th
century. Records indicate it was grown in Valencia and Majorca. In
Majorca, rice cultivation seems to have stopped after the Christian
conquest, although historians are not certain.
Muslims also brought rice to
Sicily with cultivation starting in the
9th century, where it was an important crop long before it is
noted in the plain of
Pisa (1468) or in the Lombard plain (1475),
where its cultivation was promoted by Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan,
and demonstrated in his model farms.
After the 15th century, rice spread throughout Italy and then France,
later propagating to all the continents during the age of European
In European Russia, a short-grain, starchy rice similar to the Italian
varieties, has been grown in the Krasnodar Krai, and known in Russia
as "Kuban Rice" or "Krasnodar Rice". In the
Russian Far East
Russian Far East several
japonica cultivars are grown in
Primorye around the Khanka lake.
Increasing scale of rice production in the region has recently brought
criticism towards growers' alleged bad practices in regards to the
Most of the rice used today in the cuisine of the Americas is not
native, but was introduced to
Latin America and the Caribbean by
European colonizers at an early date. However, there are at least two
native (endemic) species of rice present in the Amazon region of South
America, and one or both were used by the indigenous inhabitants of
the region to create the domesticated form
Oryza sp., some 4000 years
Spanish colonizers introduced
Asian rice to Mexico in the 1520s at
Veracruz; and the Portuguese and their African slaves introduced it at
about the same time to colonial Brazil. Recent scholarship
suggests that enslaved Africans played an active role in the
establishment of rice in the
New World and that
African rice was an
important crop from an early period. Varieties of rice and bean
dishes that were a staple dish along the peoples of West Africa
remained a staple among their descendants subjected to slavery in the
New World colonies, Brazil and elsewhere in the Americas.
South Carolina rice plantation, showing a winnowing barn (Mansfield
In 1694, rice arrived in South Carolina, probably originating from
Madagascar. Tradition (possibly apocryphal) has it that pirate
John Thurber was returning from a slave-trading voyage to Madagascar
when he was blown off course and put into Charleston for repairs.
While there he gave a bag of seed rice to explorer Dr. Henry Woodward,
who planted the rice and experimented with it until finding that it
grew exceptionally well in the wet Carolina soil.
In the United States, colonial
South Carolina and Georgia grew and
amassed great wealth from the slave labor obtained from the Senegambia
area of West Africa and from coastal Sierra Leone. At the port of
Charleston, through which 40% of all American slave imports passed,
slaves from this region of Africa brought the highest prices due to
their prior knowledge of rice culture, which was put to use on the
many rice plantations around Georgetown, Charleston, and Savannah.
From the enslaved Africans, plantation owners learned how to dyke the
marshes and periodically flood the fields. At first the rice was
laboriously milled by hand using large mortars and pestles made of
wood, then winnowed in sweetgrass baskets (the making of which was
another skill brought by slaves from Africa). The invention of the
rice mill increased profitability of the crop, and the addition of
water power for the mills in 1787 by millwright Jonathan Lucas was
another step forward.
Rice culture in the southeastern U.S. became less profitable with the
loss of slave labor after the American Civil War, and it finally died
out just after the turn of the 20th century. Today, people can visit
the only remaining rice plantation in
South Carolina that still has
the original winnowing barn and rice mill from the mid-19th century at
Mansfield Plantation in Georgetown, South Carolina. The
predominant strain of rice in the Carolinas was from Africa and was
known as 'Carolina Gold'. The cultivar has been preserved and there
are current attempts to reintroduce it as a commercially grown
In the southern United States, rice has been grown in southern
Arkansas, Louisiana, and east
Texas since the mid-19th century. Many
Cajun farmers grew rice in wet marshes and low-lying prairies where
they could also farm crayfish when the fields were flooded. In
recent years rice production has risen in North America, especially in
Mississippi embayment in the states of
Arkansas and Mississippi
Arkansas Delta and
Rice paddy fields just north of the city of Sacramento, California.
Rice cultivation began in California during the California Gold Rush,
when an estimated 40,000 Chinese laborers immigrated to the state and
grew small amounts of the grain for their own consumption. However,
commercial production began only in 1912 in the town of Richvale in
Butte County. By 2006, California produced the second-largest rice
crop in the United States, after Arkansas, with production
concentrated in six counties north of Sacramento. Unlike the
Mississippi Delta region, California's production is
dominated by short- and medium-grain japonica varieties, including
cultivars developed for the local climate such as Calrose, which makes
up as much as 85% of the state's crop.
References to "wild rice" native to North America are to the unrelated
More than 100 varieties of rice are commercially produced primarily in
six states (Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and
California) in the U.S. According to estimates for the 2006 crop
year, rice production in the U.S. is valued at $1.88 billion,
approximately half of which is expected to be exported. The U.S.
provides about 12% of world rice trade. The majority of domestic
utilization of U.S. rice is direct food use (58%), while 16% is used
in each of processed foods and beer. 10% is found in pet food.
Rice was one of the earliest crops planted in
Australia by British
settlers, who had experience with rice plantations in the Americas and
Although attempts to grow rice in the well-watered north of Australia
have been made for many years, they have consistently failed because
of inherent iron and manganese toxicities in the soils and destruction
In the 1920s, it was seen as a possible irrigation crop on soils
Murray-Darling Basin that were too heavy for the
cultivation of fruit and too infertile for wheat.
Because irrigation water, despite the extremely low runoff of
temperate Australia, was (and remains) very cheap, the growing of
rice was taken up by agricultural groups over the following decades.
Californian varieties of rice were found suitable for the climate in
the Riverina, and the first mill opened at Leeton in 1951.
Monthly value (A$ millions) of rice imports to
Australia since 1988
Even before this Australia's rice production greatly exceeded local
needs, and rice exports to
Japan have become a major source of
foreign currency. Above-average rainfall from the 1950s to the middle
1990s encouraged the expansion of the
Riverina rice industry, but
its prodigious water use in a practically waterless region began to
attract the attention of environmental scientists. These became
severely concerned with declining flow in the
Snowy River and the
lower Murray River.
Although rice growing in
Australia is highly profitable due to the
cheapness of land, several recent years of severe drought have led
many to call for its elimination because of its effects on extremely
fragile aquatic ecosystems. The Australian rice industry is somewhat
opportunistic, with the area planted varying significantly from season
to season depending on water allocations in the Murray and
Murrumbidgee irrigation regions.
Australian Aboriginal people have harvested native rice varieties for
thousands of years, and there are ongoing efforts to grow commercial
quantities of these species.
Production and commerce
Rice production – 2014
Production (millions of tonnes)
FAOSTAT of the United Nations
Worldwide rice production
Burning of rice residues after harvest, to quickly prepare the land
for wheat planting, around Sangrur, Punjab, India.
In 2014, world production of paddy rice was 741.5 million tonnes, led
India with a combined 49% of this total (table). Other
major producers were Indonesia,
The average world farm yield for rice in 2014 was 4.6 tonnes per
Rice farms in
France were the most productive in 2014,
with a nationwide average of 50.1 tonnes per hectare.
Rice is a major food staple and a mainstay for the rural population
and their food security. It is mainly cultivated by small farmers in
holdings of less than 1 hectare.
Rice is also a wage commodity for
workers in the cash crop or non-agricultural sectors.
Rice is vital
for the nutrition of much of the population in Asia, as well as in
Latin America and the Caribbean and in Africa; it is central to the
food security of over half the world population. Developing countries
account for 95% of the total production, with
responsible for nearly half of the world output.
Many rice grain producing countries have significant losses
post-harvest at the farm and because of poor roads, inadequate storage
technologies, inefficient supply chains and farmer's inability to
bring the produce into retail markets dominated by small shopkeepers.
A World Bank –
FAO study claims 8% to 26% of rice is lost in
developing nations, on average, every year, because of post-harvest
problems and poor infrastructure. Some sources claim the post-harvest
losses to exceed 40%. Not only do these losses reduce food
security in the world, the study claims that farmers in developing
countries such as China,
India and others lose approximately US$89
billion of income in preventable post-harvest farm losses, poor
transport, the lack of proper storage and retail. One study claims
that if these post-harvest grain losses could be eliminated with
better infrastructure and retail network, in
India alone enough food
would be saved every year to feed 70 to 100 million people over a
The seeds of the rice plant are first milled using a rice huller to
remove the chaff (the outer husks of the grain). At this point in the
process, the product is called brown rice. The milling may be
continued, removing the bran, i.e., the rest of the husk and the germ,
thereby creating white rice. White rice, which keeps longer, lacks
some important nutrients; moreover, in a limited diet which does not
supplement the rice, brown rice helps to prevent the disease beriberi.
Either by hand or in a rice polisher, white rice may be buffed with
glucose or talc powder (often called polished rice, though this term
may also refer to white rice in general), parboiled, or processed into
White rice may also be enriched by adding nutrients, especially
those lost during the milling process. While the cheapest method of
enriching involves adding a powdered blend of nutrients that will
easily wash off (in the United States, rice which has been so treated
requires a label warning against rinsing), more sophisticated methods
apply nutrients directly to the grain, coating the grain with a
water-insoluble substance which is resistant to washing.
In some countries, a popular form, parboiled rice (also known as
converted rice) is subjected to a steaming or parboiling process while
still a brown rice grain. The parboil process causes a gelatinisation
of the starch in the grains. The grains become less brittle, and the
color of the milled grain changes from white to yellow. The rice is
then dried, and can then be milled as usual or used as brown rice.
Milled parboiled rice is nutritionally superior to standard milled
rice, because the process causes nutrients from the outer husk
(especially thiamine) to move into the endosperm, so that less is
subsequently lost when the husk is polished off during milling.
Parboiled rice has an additional benefit in that it does not stick to
the pan during cooking, as happens when cooking regular white rice.
This type of rice is eaten in parts of
India and countries of West
Africa are also accustomed to consuming parboiled rice.
Rice bran, called nuka in Japan, is a valuable commodity in Asia and
is used for many daily needs. It is a moist, oily inner layer which is
heated to produce oil. It is also used as a pickling bed in making
rice bran pickles and takuan.
Raw rice may be ground into flour for many uses, including making many
kinds of beverages, such as amazake, horchata, rice milk, and rice
Rice does not contain gluten, so is suitable for people on a
Rice may also be made into various types of
noodles. Raw, wild, or brown rice may also be consumed by raw-foodist
or fruitarians if soaked and sprouted (usually a week to 30 days –
Processed rice seeds must be boiled or steamed before eating. Boiled
rice may be further fried in cooking oil or butter (known as fried
rice), or beaten in a tub to make mochi.
Rice is a good source of protein and a staple food in many parts of
the world, but it is not a complete protein: it does not contain all
of the essential amino acids in sufficient amounts for good health,
and should be combined with other sources of protein, such as nuts,
seeds, beans, fish, or meat.
Rice, like other cereal grains, can be puffed (or popped). This
process takes advantage of the grains' water content and typically
involves heating grains in a special chamber. Further puffing is
sometimes accomplished by processing puffed pellets in a low-pressure
chamber. The ideal gas law means either lowering the local pressure or
raising the water temperature results in an increase in volume prior
to water evaporation, resulting in a puffy texture. Bulk raw rice
density is about 0.9 g/cm³. It decreases to less than one-tenth that
Harvesting, drying and milling
Rice combine harvester Katori-city, Chiba Prefecture, Japan
After the harvest, rice straw is gathered in the traditional way from
small paddy fields in Mae Wang District, Chiang Mai Province, Thailand
Further information: Paddy field
Unmilled rice, known as "paddy" (
Indonesia and Malaysia: padi;
Philippines, palay), is usually harvested when the grains have a
moisture content of around 25%. In most Asian countries, where rice is
almost entirely the product of smallholder agriculture, harvesting is
carried out manually, although there is a growing interest in
mechanical harvesting. Harvesting can be carried out by the farmers
themselves, but is also frequently done by seasonal labor groups.
Harvesting is followed by threshing, either immediately or within a
day or two. Again, much threshing is still carried out by hand but
there is an increasing use of mechanical threshers. Subsequently,
paddy needs to be dried to bring down the moisture content to no more
than 20% for milling.
A familiar sight in several Asian countries is paddy laid out to dry
along roads. However, in most countries the bulk of drying of marketed
paddy takes place in mills, with village-level drying being used for
paddy to be consumed by farm families. Mills either sun dry or use
mechanical driers or both. Drying has to be carried out quickly to
avoid the formation of molds. Mills range from simple hullers, with a
throughput of a couple of tonnes a day, that simply remove the outer
husk, to enormous operations that can process 4,000 tonnes a day and
produce highly polished rice. A good mill can achieve a paddy-to-rice
conversion rate of up to 72% but smaller, inefficient mills often
struggle to achieve 60%. These smaller mills often do not buy paddy
and sell rice but only service farmers who want to mill their paddy
for their own consumption.
Because of the importance of rice to human nutrition and food security
in Asia, the domestic rice markets tend to be subject to considerable
state involvement. While the private sector plays a leading role in
most countries, agencies such as BULOG in Indonesia, the NFA in the
Philippines, VINAFOOD in
Vietnam and the Food Corporation of
all heavily involved in purchasing of paddy from farmers or rice from
mills and in distributing rice to poorer people. BULOG and NFA
monopolise rice imports into their countries while VINAFOOD controls
all exports from Vietnam.
Drying rice in Peravoor, India
World trade figures are very different from those for production, as
less than 8% of rice produced is traded internationally. In
economic terms, the global rice trade was a small fraction of 1% of
world mercantile trade. Many countries consider rice as a strategic
food staple, and various governments subject its trade to a wide range
of controls and interventions.
Developing countries are the main players in the world rice trade,
accounting for 83% of exports and 85% of imports. While there are
numerous importers of rice, the exporters of rice are limited. Just
five countries – Thailand, Vietnam, China, the United States and
India – in decreasing order of exported quantities, accounted for
about three-quarters of world rice exports in 2002. However, this
ranking has been rapidly changing in recent years. In 2010, the three
largest exporters of rice, in decreasing order of quantity exported
Vietnam and India. By 2012,
India became the largest
exporter of rice with a 100% increase in its exports on year-to-year
Thailand slipped to third position. Together,
India accounted for nearly 70% of the world rice
The primary variety exported by
Vietnam were Jasmine
rice, while exports from
India included aromatic
China, an exporter of rice in early 2000s, was a net importer of rice
in 2010 and will become the largest net importer, surpassing Nigeria,
in 2013. According to a USDA report, the world's largest
exporters of rice in 2012 were
India (9.75 million tonnes),
Thailand (6.5 million tonnes),
Pakistan (3.75 million
tonnes) and the United States (3.5 million tonnes).
Major importers usually include Nigeria, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Saudi
Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brazil and some African
Persian Gulf countries. In common with other West African
countries, Nigeria is actively promoting domestic production. However,
its very heavy import duties (110%) open it to smuggling from
Parboiled rice is particularly popular in
India are the two largest producers of
rice in the world, both countries consume the majority of the rice
produced domestically, leaving little to be traded internationally.
World's most productive rice farms and farmers
The average world yield for rice was 4.3 tonnes per hectare, in 2010.
Australian rice farms were the most productive in 2010, with a
nationwide average of 10.8 tonnes per hectare.
Yuan Longping of
China National Hybrid
Rice Research and Development
Center, China, set a world record for rice yield in 2010 at 19 tonnes
per hectare on a demonstration plot. In 2011, this record was
surpassed by an Indian farmer, Sumant Kumar, with 22.4 tonnes per
hectare in Bihar. Both these farmers claim to have employed newly
developed rice breeds and
System of Rice Intensification
System of Rice Intensification (SRI), a
recent innovation in rice farming. SRI is claimed to have set new
national records in rice yields, within the last 10 years, in many
countries. The claimed Chinese and Indian yields have yet to be
demonstrated on seven-hectare lots and to be reproducible over two
consecutive years on the same farm.
In late 2007 to May 2008, the price of grains rose greatly due to
droughts in major producing countries (particularly Australia),
increased use of grains for animal feed and US subsidies for bio-fuel
production. Although there was no shortage of rice on world markets
this general upward trend in grain prices led to panic buying by
consumers, government rice export bans (in particular, by
India) and inflated import orders by the
Philippines marketing board,
the National Food Authority. This caused significant rises in rice
prices. In late April 2008, prices hit 24 US cents a pound, twice the
price of seven months earlier. Over the period of 2007 to 2013,
the Chinese government has substantially increased the price it pays
domestic farmers for their rice, rising to US$500 per metric ton by
2013. The 2013 price of rice originating from other southeast
Asian countries was a comparably low US$350 per metric ton.
On April 30, 2008,
Thailand announced plans for the creation of the
Organisation of Rice Exporting Countries (OREC) with the intention
that this should develop into a price-fixing cartel for
rice. However, little progress had been made by mid-2011 to
Food consumption of rice by country – 2009
(million metric ton of paddy equivalent)
As of 2009 world food consumption of rice was 531.6 million metric
tons of paddy equivalent (354,603 of milled equivalent), while the far
largest consumers were
China consuming 156.3 million metric tons of
paddy equivalent (29.4% of the world consumption) and
123.5 million metric tons of paddy equivalent (23.3% of the world
consumption). Between 1961 and 2002, per capita consumption of
rice increased by 40%.
Rice is the most important crop in Asia. In Cambodia, for example, 90%
of the total agricultural area is used for rice production.
U.S. rice consumption has risen sharply over the past 25 years, fueled
in part by commercial applications such as beer production.
Almost one in five adult Americans now report eating at least half a
serving of white or brown rice per day.
Work by the
International Center for Tropical Agriculture to measure
the greenhouse gas emissions of rice production.
Rice cultivation on wetland rice fields is thought to be responsible
for 11% of the anthropogenic methane emissions.
slightly more water to produce than other grains.
uses almost a third of Earth’s fresh water.
Long-term flooding of rice fields cuts the soil off from atmospheric
oxygen and causes anaerobic fermentation of organic matter in the
Methane production from rice cultivation contributes ~1.5%
of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
Methane is twenty times more
potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
A 2010 study found that, as a result of rising temperatures and
decreasing solar radiation during the later years of the 20th century,
the rice yield growth rate has decreased in many parts of Asia,
compared to what would have been observed had the temperature and
solar radiation trends not occurred. The yield growth rate
had fallen 10–20% at some locations. The study was based on records
from 227 farms in Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, India, China, Bangladesh,
and Pakistan. The mechanism of this falling yield was not clear, but
might involve increased respiration during warm nights, which expends
energy without being able to photosynthesize.
Rice requires high temperature above 20 °C (68 °F) but not
more than 35 to 40 °C (95 to 104 °F). Optimum temperature
is around 30 °C (Tmax) and 20 °C (Tmin).
The amount of solar radiation received during the 45 days leading up
to harvest determines final crop output.
Atmospheric water vapor
High water vapor content (in humid tropics) subjects unusual stress
which favors the spread of fungal and bacterial diseases.
Light wind transports CO2 to the leaf canopy but strong wind causes
severe damage and may lead to sterility (due to pollen dehydration,
spikelet sterility, and abortive endosperms).
Pests and diseases
Rice pests are any organisms or microbes with the potential to reduce
the yield or value of the rice crop (or of rice seeds). Rice
pests include weeds, pathogens, insects, nematode, rodents, and birds.
A variety of factors can contribute to pest outbreaks, including
climatic factors, improper irrigation, the overuse of insecticides and
high rates of nitrogen fertilizer application. Weather conditions
also contribute to pest outbreaks. For example, rice gall midge and
army worm outbreaks tend to follow periods of high rainfall early in
the wet season, while thrips outbreaks are associated with
Chinese rice grasshopper
Major rice insect pests include: the brown planthopper (BPH),
several spp. of stemborers – including those in the genera
Scirpophaga and Chilo, the rice gall midge, several spp. of
rice bugs – notably in the genus Leptocorisa, the rice
leafroller, rice weevils and the Chinese rice grasshopper. The
fall army worm, a species of Lepidoptera, also targets and causes
damage to rice crops.
Main article: List of rice diseases
Rice blast, caused by the fungus Magnaporthe grisea, is the most
significant disease affecting rice cultivation. Other major rice
diseases include: sheath blight, rice ragged stunt (vector: BPH), and
tungro (vector: Nephotettix spp). There is also an ascomycete
fungus, Cochliobolus miyabeanus, that causes brown spot disease in
Several nematode species infect rice crops, causing diseases such as
Ufra (Ditylenchus dipsaci), White tip disease (Aphelenchoide bessei),
and root knot disease (Meloidogyne graminicola). Some nematode species
such as Pratylenchus spp. are most dangerous in upland rice of all
parts of the world.
Rice root nematode (Hirschmanniella oryzae) is a
migratory endoparasite which on higher inoculum levels will lead to
complete destruction of a rice crop. Beyond being obligate parasites,
they also decrease the vigor of plants and increase the plants'
susceptibility to other pests and diseases.
These include the apple snail Pomacea canaliculata, panicle rice mite,
rats, and the weed
Integrated pest management
Main article: Integrated pest management
Crop protection scientists are trying to develop rice pest management
techniques which are sustainable. In other words, to manage crop pests
in such a manner that future crop production is not threatened.
Sustainable pest management is based on four principles: biodiversity,
host plant resistance (HPR), landscape ecology, and hierarchies in a
landscape – from biological to social. At present, rice pest
management includes cultural techniques, pest-resistant rice
varieties, and pesticides (which include insecticide). Increasingly,
there is evidence that farmers' pesticide applications are often
unnecessary, and even facilitate pest outbreaks.
By reducing the populations of natural enemies of rice pests,
misuse of insecticides can actually lead to pest outbreaks. The
International Rice Research Institute
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) demonstrated in 1993 that
an 87.5% reduction in pesticide use can lead to an overall drop in
IRRI also conducted two campaigns in 1994 and 2003,
respectively, which discouraged insecticide misuse and smarter pest
management in Vietnam.
Rice plants produce their own chemical defenses to protect themselves
from pest attacks. Some synthetic chemicals, such as the herbicide
2,4-D, cause the plant to increase the production of certain defensive
chemicals and thereby increase the plant’s resistance to some types
of pests. Conversely, other chemicals, such as the insecticide
imidacloprid, can induce changes in the gene expression of the rice
that cause the plant to become more susceptible to attacks by certain
types of pests. 5-Alkylresorcinols are chemicals that can also be
found in rice.
Botanicals, so-called "natural pesticides", are used by some farmers
in an attempt to control rice pests. Botanicals include extracts of
leaves, or a mulch of the leaves themselves. Some upland rice farmers
Cambodia spread chopped leaves of the bitter bush (Chromolaena
odorata) over the surface of fields after planting. This practice
probably helps the soil retain moisture and thereby facilitates seed
germination. Farmers also claim the leaves are a natural fertilizer
and helps suppress weed and insect infestations.
Chloroxylon is used for Pest Management in Organic
Rice Cultivation in
Among rice cultivars, there are differences in the responses to, and
recovery from, pest damage. Many rice varieties have been
selected for resistance to insect pests. Therefore,
particular cultivars are recommended for areas prone to certain pest
problems. The genetically based ability of a rice variety to withstand
pest attacks is called resistance. Three main types of plant
resistance to pests are recognized as nonpreference, antibiosis, and
tolerance. Nonpreference (or antixenosis) describes host plants
which insects prefer to avoid; antibiosis is where insect survival is
reduced after the ingestion of host tissue; and tolerance is the
capacity of a plant to produce high yield or retain high quality
despite insect infestation.
Over time, the use of pest-resistant rice varieties selects for pests
that are able to overcome these mechanisms of resistance. When a rice
variety is no longer able to resist pest infestations, resistance is
said to have broken down.
Rice varieties that can be widely grown for
many years in the presence of pests and retain their ability to
withstand the pests are said to have durable resistance. Mutants of
popular rice varieties are regularly screened by plant breeders to
discover new sources of durable resistance.
Rice is parasitized by the weed eudicot Striga hermonthica, which
is of local importance for this crop.
Ecotypes and cultivars
Main article: List of rice varieties
Rice seed collection from IRRI
While most rice is bred for crop quality and productivity, there are
varieties selected for characteristics such as texture, smell, and
firmness. There are four major categories of rice worldwide: indica,
japonica, aromatic and glutinous. The different varieties of rice are
not considered interchangeable, either in food preparation or
agriculture, so as a result, each major variety is a completely
separate market from other varieties. It is common for one variety of
rice to rise in price while another one drops in price.
Rice cultivars also fall into groups according to environmental
conditions, season of planting, and season of harvest, called
ecotypes. Some major groups are the Japan-type (grown in Japan),
"buly" and "tjereh" types (Indonesia); "aman" (main winter crop),
"aus" ("aush", summer), and "boro" (spring) (Bengal and
Assam). Cultivars exist that are adapted to deep flooding,
and these are generally called "floating rice".
The largest collection of rice cultivars is at the International Rice
Research Institute in the Philippines, with over 100,000 rice
accessions held in the International
Rice Genebank. Rice
cultivars are often classified by their grain shapes and texture. For
Jasmine rice is long-grain and relatively less sticky,
as some long-grain rice contains less amylopectin than short-grain
cultivars. Chinese restaurants often serve long-grain as plain
unseasoned steamed rice though short-grain rice is common as well.
Japanese mochi rice and Chinese sticky rice are short-grain. Chinese
people use sticky rice which is properly known as "glutinous rice"
(note: glutinous refer to the glue-like characteristic of rice; does
not refer to "gluten") to make zongzi. The Japanese table rice is a
sticky, short-grain rice. Japanese sake rice is another kind as well.
Indian rice cultivars include long-grained and aromatic Basmati
(ਬਾਸਮਤੀ) (grown in the North), long and medium-grained
Patna rice, and in South
Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka)
Sona Masuri (also called as Bangaru theegalu). In the
state of Tamil Nadu, the most prized cultivar is ponni which is
primarily grown in the delta regions of the
also referred to as ponni in the South and the name reflects the
geographic region where it is grown. In the Western Indian state of
Maharashtra, a short grain variety called
Ambemohar is very popular.
This rice has a characteristic fragrance of Mango blossom.
Aromatic rices have definite aromas and flavors; the most noted
cultivars are Thai fragrant rice, Basmati, Patna rice, Vietnamese
fragrant rice, and a hybrid cultivar from America, sold under the
trade name Texmati. Both
Basmati and Texmati have a mild popcorn-like
aroma and flavor. In Indonesia, there are also red and black
High-yield cultivars of rice suitable for cultivation in Africa and
other dry ecosystems, called the new rice for Africa (NERICA)
cultivars, have been developed. It is hoped that their cultivation
will improve food security in West Africa.
Draft genomes for the two most common rice cultivars, indica and
japonica, were published in April 2002.
Rice was chosen as a model
organism for the biology of grasses because of its relatively small
genome (~430 megabase pairs).
Rice was the first crop with a complete
On December 16, 2002, the
UN General Assembly
UN General Assembly declared the year 2004
the International Year of Rice. The declaration was sponsored by more
than 40 countries.
The high-yielding varieties are a group of crops created intentionally
Green Revolution to increase global food production. This
project enabled labor markets in Asia to shift away from agriculture,
and into industrial sectors. The first "
IR8 was produced in
1966 at the
International Rice Research Institute
International Rice Research Institute which is based in
Philippines at the University of the Philippines' Los Baños site.
IR8 was created through a cross between an Indonesian variety named
"Peta" and a Chinese variety named "Dee Geo Woo Gen."
Scientists have identified and cloned many genes involved in the
gibberellin signaling pathway, including GAI1 (Gibberellin
Insensitive) and SLR1 (Slender Rice). Disruption of gibberellin
signaling can lead to significantly reduced stem growth leading to a
dwarf phenotype. Photosynthetic investment in the stem is reduced
dramatically as the shorter plants are inherently more stable
mechanically. Assimilates become redirected to grain production,
amplifying in particular the effect of chemical fertilizers on
commercial yield. In the presence of nitrogen fertilizers, and
intensive crop management, these varieties increase their yield two to
As the UN Millennium Development project seeks to spread global
economic development to Africa, the "Green Revolution" is cited as the
model for economic development. With the intent of replicating the
successful Asian boom in agronomic productivity, groups like the Earth
Institute are doing research on African agricultural systems, hoping
to increase productivity. An important way this can happen is the
production of "New Rices for Africa" (NERICA). These rices, selected
to tolerate the low input and harsh growing conditions of African
agriculture, are produced by the African
Rice Center, and billed as
technology "from Africa, for Africa". The NERICA have appeared in The
New York Times (October 10, 2007) and International Herald Tribune
(October 9, 2007), trumpeted as miracle crops that will dramatically
increase rice yield in Africa and enable an economic resurgence.
Ongoing research in
China to develop perennial rice could result in
enhanced sustainability and food security.
Main article: Golden rice
Rice kernels do not contain vitamin A, so people who obtain most of
their calories from rice are at risk of vitamin A deficiency. German
and Swiss researchers have genetically engineered rice to produce
beta-carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, in the rice kernel. The
beta-carotene turns the processed (white) rice a "gold" color, hence
the name "golden rice." The beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in
humans who consume the rice. Although some rice strains produce
beta-carotene in the hull, no non-genetically engineered strains have
been found that produce beta-carotene in the kernel, despite the
testing of thousands of strains. Additional efforts are being made to
improve the quantity and quality of other nutrients in golden
International Rice Research Institute
International Rice Research Institute is currently further
developing and evaluating Golden
Rice as a potential new way to help
address vitamin A deficiency.
Expression of human proteins
Ventria Bioscience has genetically modified rice to express
lactoferrin, lysozyme which are proteins usually found in breast milk,
and human serum albumin, These proteins have antiviral, antibacterial,
and antifungal effects.
Rice containing these added proteins can be used as a component in
oral rehydration solutions which are used to treat diarrheal diseases,
thereby shortening their duration and reducing recurrence. Such
supplements may also help reverse anemia.
Due to the varying levels that water can reach in regions of
cultivation, flood tolerant varieties have long been developed and
Flooding is an issue that many rice growers face, especially in
South East Asia
South East Asia where flooding annually affects 20 million
hectares. Standard rice varieties cannot withstand stagnant
flooding of more than about a week, mainly as it disallows the
plant access to necessary requirements such as sunlight and essential
gas exchanges, inevitably leading to plants being unable to
recover. In the past, this has led to massive losses in yields,
such as in the Philippines, where in 2006, rice crops worth $65
million were lost to flooding. Recently developed cultivars seek
to improve flood tolerance.
Drought represents a significant environmental stress for rice
production, with 19–23 million hectares of rainfed rice production
in South and
South East Asia
South East Asia often at risk. Under drought
conditions, without sufficient water to afford them the ability to
obtain the required levels of nutrients from the soil, conventional
commercial rice varieties can be severely affected – for example,
yield losses as high as 40% have affected some parts of India, with
resulting losses of around US$800 million annually.
International Rice Research Institute
International Rice Research Institute conducts research into
developing drought-tolerant rice varieties, including the varieties
5411 and Sookha dhan, currently being employed by farmers in the
Nepal respectively. In addition, in 2013 the
Japanese National Institute for Agrobiological Sciences led a team
which successfully inserted the DEEPER ROOTING 1 (DRO1) gene, from the
Philippine upland rice variety Kinandang Patong, into the popular
commercial rice variety IR64, giving rise to a far deeper root system
in the resulting plants. This facilitates an improved ability for
the rice plant to derive its required nutrients in times of drought
via accessing deeper layers of soil, a feature demonstrated by trials
which saw the IR64 + DRO1 rice yields drop by 10% under moderate
drought conditions, compared to 60% for the unmodified IR64
Soil salinity poses a major threat to rice crop productivity,
particularly along low-lying coastal areas during the dry season.
For example, roughly 1 million hectares of the coastal areas of
Bangladesh are affected by saline soils. These high
concentrations of salt can severely affect rice plants’ normal
physiology, especially during early stages of growth, and as such
farmers are often forced to abandon these otherwise potentially usable
Progress has been made, however, in developing rice varieties capable
of tolerating such conditions; the hybrid created from the cross
between the commercial rice variety IR56 and the wild rice species
Oryza coarctata is one example. O. coarctata is capable of
successful growth in soils with double the limit of salinity of normal
varieties, but lacks the ability to produce edible rice.
Developed by the International
Rice Research Institute, the hybrid
variety can utilise specialised leaf glands that allow for the removal
of salt into the atmosphere. It was initially produced from one
successful embryo out of 34,000 crosses between the two species; this
was then backcrossed to IR56 with the aim of preserving the genes
responsible for salt tolerance that were inherited from O.
coarctata. Extensive trials are planned prior to the new variety
being available to farmers by approximately 2017–18.
The irrigated rice (paddy) crop in Egypt has a salt tolerance of
ECe=5.5 dS/m beyond which the yield declines.
When the problem of soil salinity arises it will be opportune to
select salt tolerant varieties (
IRRI  or to resort to soil
Soil salinity is often measured as the electric conductivity (EC) of
the extract of a saturated soil paste (ECe). The EC units are usually
expressed in millimho/cm or dS/m. The critical ECe value of 5.5 dS/m
in the figure, obtained from measurements in farmers' fields,
indicates that the rice crop is slightly salt sensitive.
Producing rice in paddies is harmful for the environment due to the
release of methane by methanogenic bacteria. These bacteria live in
the anaerobic waterlogged soil, and live off nutrients released by
rice roots. Researchers have recently reported in Nature that putting
the barley gene SUSIBA2 into rice creates a shift in biomass
production from root to shoot (above ground tissue becomes larger,
while below ground tissue is reduced), decreasing the methanogen
population, and resulting in a reduction of methane emissions of up to
97%. Apart from this environmental benefit, the modification also
increases the amount of rice grains by 43%, which makes it a useful
tool in feeding a growing world population.
Meiosis and DNA repair
Rice is used as a model organism for investigating the molecular
mechanisms of meiosis and
DNA repair in higher plants. Meiosis is a
key stage of the sexual cycle in which diploid cells in the ovule
(female structure) and the anther (male structure) produce haploid
cells that develop further into gametophytes and gametes. So far, 28
meiotic genes of rice have been characterized. Studies of rice
gene OsRAD51C showed that this gene is necessary for homologous
recombinational repair of DNA, particularly the accurate repair of DNA
double-strand breaks during meiosis.
Rice gene OsDMC1 was found
to be essential for pairing of homologous chromosomes during
meiosis, and rice gene OsMRE11 was found to be required for both
synapsis of homologous chromosomes and repair of double-strand breaks
Cultural roles of rice
Ancient statue of
Dewi Sri from Java (c. 9th century)
Rice plays an important role in certain religions and popular beliefs.
In many cultures relatives will scatter rice during or towards the end
of a wedding ceremony in front of the bride and groom.
The pounded rice ritual is conducted during weddings in Nepal. The
bride gives a leafplate full of pounded rice to the groom after he
requests it politely from her.
Philippines rice wine, popularly known as tapuy, is used for
important occasions such as weddings, rice harvesting ceremonies and
Dewi Sri is the traditional rice goddess of the Javanese, Sundanese,
Balinese people in Indonesia. Most rituals involving
Dewi Sri are
associated with the mythical origin attributed to the rice plant, the
staple food of the region. In
Thailand a similar rice deity
is known as Phosop; she is a deity more related to ancient local
folklore than a goddess of a structured, mainstream religion. The
same female rice deity is known as Po Ino Nogar in
Cambodia and as
Nang Khosop in Laos. Ritual offerings are made during the different
stages of rice production to propitiate the
Rice Goddess in the
A 2014 study of
Han Chinese communities found that a history of
farming rice makes cultures more psychologically interdependent,
whereas a history of farming wheat makes cultures more
Royal Ploughing Ceremony
Royal Ploughing Ceremony is held in certain Asian countries to mark
the beginning of the rice planting season. It is still honored in the
Cambodia and Thailand.
Indonesian rice table
List of dried foods
List of rice dishes
List of rice varieties
Protein per unit area
Rice bran oil
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