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A grain is a small, hard, dry
fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants that is formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) disseminate their seeds. Edible fruits in particul ...
(
caryopsis In botany, a caryopsis (plural caryopses) is a type of simple fruit—one that is monocarpellate (formed from a single carpel) and indehiscent (not opening at maturity) and resembles an achene, except that in a caryopsis the pericarp is fused ...
) – with or without an attached hull layer – harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are
cereal A cereal is any Poaceae, grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain (botanically, a type of fruit called a caryopsis), composed of the endosperm, Cereal germ, germ, and bran. Cereal Grain, grain crops are grown in greater quantit ...
s and
legumes A legume () is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or the fruit or seed of such a plant. When used as a dry grain, the seed is also called a pulse. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for human consumption, for livestock for ...
. After being harvested, dry grains are more durable than other
staple food A staple food, food staple, or simply a staple, is a food that is eaten often and in such quantities that it constitutes a dominant portion of a standard Diet (nutrition), diet for a given person or group of people, supplying a large fraction of ...
s, such as starchy fruits ( plantains,
breadfruit Breadfruit (''Artocarpus altilis'') is a species of Flowering plant, flowering tree in the morus (plant), mulberry and jackfruit family (Moraceae) believed to be a domesticated plant, domesticated descendant of ''Artocarpus camansi'' originating ...
, etc.) and
tuber Tubers are a type of enlarged structure used as storage organs for nutrients in some plants. They are used for the plant's perennation (survival of the winter or dry months), to provide energy and nutrients for regrowth during the next growing s ...
s (
sweet potato The sweet potato or sweetpotato (''Ipomoea batatas'') is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the Convolvulus, bindweed or morning glory family (biology), family, Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting tuberous roots are used as a r ...
es,
cassava ''Manihot esculenta'', common name, commonly called cassava (), manioc, or yuca (among numerous regional names), is a woody shrub of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, native to South America. Although a perennial plant, cassava is extensively ...
, and more). This durability has made grains well suited to
industrial agriculture Industrial agriculture is a form of modern agriculture, farming that refers to the Industrial society, industrialized production of Industrial agriculture (crops), crops and Industrial agriculture (animals), animals and animal products like eggs or ...
, since they can be mechanically
harvest Harvesting is the process of gathering a ripe crop from the field (agriculture), fields. Reaping is the cutting of grain or pulse (legume), pulse for harvest, typically using a scythe, sickle, or reaper. On smaller farms with minimal mechaniz ...
ed, transported by rail or ship, stored for long periods in
silo A silo (from the Greek language, Greek σιρός – ''siros'', "pit for holding grain") is a structure for storing Bulk material handling, bulk materials. Silos are used in agriculture to store fermented feed known as silage, not to be co ...
s, and milled for
flour Flour is a Powder (substance), powder made by Mill (grinding), grinding raw grains, List of root vegetables, roots, beans, Nut (fruit), nuts, or seeds. Flours are used to make many different foods. Cereal flour, particularly wheat flour, ...
or pressed for
oil An oil is any nonpolar In chemistry, polarity is a separation of electric charge leading to a molecule or its chemical groups having an electric dipole moment, with a negatively charged end and a positively charged end. Polar molecules m ...
. Thus, the
grain market The grain trade refers to the local and international trade in cereals and other food grains such as wheat, barley, maize, and rice. Grain is an important trade item because it is easily stored and transported with limited spoilage, unlike other ...
is a major global
commodity market A commodity market is a Market (economics), market that trades in the Primary sector of the economy, primary economic sector rather than manufactured products, such as Cocoa bean, cocoa, fruit and sugar. Hard commodities are mined, such as gol ...
that includes crops such as
maize Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of Mexico, indigenous ...
,
rice Rice is the seed of the Poaceae, grass species ''Oryza sativa'' (Asian rice) or less commonly ''Oryza glaberrima'' (African rice). The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera ''Zizania (genus), Zizania'' and ''Porteresia'', bo ...
,
soybeans The soybean, soy bean, or soya bean (''Glycine max'') is a species of legume A legume () is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or the fruit or seed of such a plant. When used as a dry grain, the seed is also called a pulse. ...
,
wheat Wheat is a Poaceae, grass widely Agriculture, cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain that is a worldwide staple food. The Taxonomy of wheat, many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum'' ; the most widely grown is common wheat ...
and other grains.


Grains and cereal

Grains and cereal are synonymous with caryopses, the fruits of the
grass family Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous Family (biology), family of monocotyledonous flowering plants commonly known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassland and species culti ...
. In agronomy and commerce, seeds or fruits from other plant families are called grains if they resemble caryopses. For example,
amaranth ''Amaranthus'' is a cosmopolitan distribution, cosmopolitan genus of annual plant, annual or short-lived perennial plants collectively known as amaranths. Some amaranth species are cultivated as leaf vegetables, pseudocereals, and ornamental pl ...
is sold as " grain amaranth", 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
cereal A cereal is any Poaceae, grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain (botanically, a type of fruit called a caryopsis), composed of the endosperm, Cereal germ, germ, and bran. Cereal Grain, grain crops are grown in greater quantit ...
. All three grains native to the Andes (
kaniwa ''Chenopodium pallidicaule'', known as ''cañihua'', ''canihua'' or ''cañahua'' (from Quechua language, Quechua ''qañiwa, qañawa or qañawi'') and also kaniwa, is a species of goosefoot, similar in character and uses to the closely related ''q ...
, kiwicha, and
quinoa Quinoa (''Chenopodium quinoa''; , from Quechuan languages, Quechua ' or ') is a flowering plant in the Amaranthaceae, amaranth family. It is a herbaceous annual plant grown as a crop primarily for its edible seeds; the seeds are rich in prote ...
) are broad-leafed plants rather than grasses such as corn, rice, and wheat.


Classification


Cereal grains

A cereal is any
grass Poaceae () or Gramineae () is a large and nearly ubiquitous Family (biology), family of monocotyledonous flowering plants commonly known as grasses. It includes the cereal grasses, bamboos and the grasses of natural grassland and species culti ...
cultivated for the edible components of its grain (botanically, a type of
fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants that is formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) disseminate their seeds. Edible fruits in particul ...
called a
caryopsis In botany, a caryopsis (plural caryopses) is a type of simple fruit—one that is monocarpellate (formed from a single carpel) and indehiscent (not opening at maturity) and resembles an achene, except that in a caryopsis the pericarp is fused ...
), composed of the
endosperm The endosperm is a tissue produced inside the seeds of most of the flowering plants following double fertilization. It is triploid (meaning three chromosome sets per nucleus) in most species, which may be auxin-driven. It surrounds the Embryo#Plant ...
,
germ Germ or germs may refer to: Science * Germ (microorganism), an informal word for a pathogen * Germ cell, cell that gives rise to the gametes of an organism that reproduces sexually * Germ layer, a primary layer of cells that forms during embryo ...
, and
bran Bran, also known as miller's bran, is the hard outer layers of Cereal, cereal grain. It consists of the combined aleurone and pericarp. Corn (maize) bran also includes the pedicel (tip cap). Along with cereal germ, germ, it is an integral pa ...
. 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 crop and are therefore staple crops. Edible grains from other plant families, such as
buckwheat Buckwheat (''Fagopyrum esculentum''), or common buckwheat, is a flowering plant in the knotweed family Polygonaceae cultivated for its grain-like seeds and as a cover crop. The name "buckwheat" is used for several other species, such as ''Fagopy ...
,
quinoa Quinoa (''Chenopodium quinoa''; , from Quechuan languages, Quechua ' or ') is a flowering plant in the Amaranthaceae, amaranth family. It is a herbaceous annual plant grown as a crop primarily for its edible seeds; the seeds are rich in prote ...
and chia, are referred to as
pseudocereal A pseudocereal or pseudograin is one of any non-grasses that are used in much the same way as cereals (true cereals are grasses). Pseudocereals can be further distinguished from other non-cereal staple crops (such as potatoes) by their being proc ...
s. In their natural, unprocessed, ''
whole grain A whole grain is a grain of any cereal and pseudocereal that contains the endosperm, cereal germ, germ, and bran, in contrast to refined grains, which retain only the endosperm. As part of a general healthy diet, consumption of whole grains is a ...
'' form, cereals are a rich source of
vitamin A vitamin is an organic molecule (or a set of molecules closely related chemically, i.e. vitamers) that is an Nutrient#Essential nutrients, essential micronutrient that an organism needs in small quantities for the proper functioning of its ...
s,
minerals In geology and mineralogy, a mineral or mineral species is, broadly speaking, a solid chemical compound with a fairly well-defined chemical composition and a specific crystal structure that occurs naturally in pure form.John P. Rafferty, ed. (2 ...
,
carbohydrate In organic chemistry, a carbohydrate () is a biomolecule consisting of carbon (C), hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O) atoms, usually with a hydrogen–oxygen atom ratio of 2:1 (as in water) and thus with the empirical formula (where ''m'' may or may ...
s,
fat In nutrition Nutrition is the biochemistry, biochemical and physiology, physiological process by which an organism uses food to support its life. It provides organisms with Nutrient, nutrients, which can be Metabolism, metabolized to ...
s, oils, and
protein Proteins are large biomolecules and macromolecules that comprise one or more long chains of amino acid residue (biochemistry), residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including Enzyme catalysis, catalysing metabo ...
. When processed by the removal of the bran and germ the remaining endosperm is mostly carbohydrate. In some
developing countries A developing country is a sovereign state with a lesser developed Industrial sector, industrial base and a lower Human Development Index (HDI) relative to other countries. However, this definition is not universally agreed upon. There is al ...
, grain in the form of
rice Rice is the seed of the Poaceae, grass species ''Oryza sativa'' (Asian rice) or less commonly ''Oryza glaberrima'' (African rice). The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera ''Zizania (genus), Zizania'' and ''Porteresia'', bo ...
,
wheat Wheat is a Poaceae, grass widely Agriculture, cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain that is a worldwide staple food. The Taxonomy of wheat, many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum'' ; the most widely grown is common wheat ...
,
millet Millets () are a highly varied group of small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Most species generally referred to as millets belong to the tribe Paniceae, but some millets also ...
, or
maize Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of Mexico, indigenous ...
constitutes a majority of daily sustenance. In
developed countries A developed country (or industrialized country, high-income country, more economically developed country (MEDC), advanced country) is a sovereign state that has a high quality of life, developed economy and advanced technological infrastruct ...
, cereal consumption is moderate and varied but still substantial, primarily in the form of refined and processed grains.


Warm-season cereals

*
finger millet ''Eleusine coracana'', or finger millet, also known as ragi in India, kodo in Nepal, is an Annual plant, annual herbaceous plant widely grown as a cereal crop in the arid and Semi-arid climate, semiarid areas in Africa and Asia. It is a tetraploi ...
* fonio *
foxtail millet Foxtail millet, scientific name ''Setaria italica'' (synonym ''Panicum italicum'' L.), is an annual grass grown for human food. It is the second-most widely planted species of millet, and the most grown millet species in Asia. The oldest evidenc ...
* Japanese millet * Job's tears * kodo millet *
maize Maize ( ; ''Zea mays'' subsp. ''mays'', from es, maíz after tnq, mahiz), also known as corn (North American English, North American and Australian English), is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples of Mexico, indigenous ...
(corn) *
millet Millets () are a highly varied group of small-seeded grasses, widely grown around the world as cereal crops or grains for fodder and human food. Most species generally referred to as millets belong to the tribe Paniceae, but some millets also ...
*
pearl millet Pearl millet (''Cenchrus americanus'', commonly known as the synonym ''Pennisetum glaucum''; also known as 'Bajra' in Hindi language, Hindi, 'Sajje' in Kannada, 'Kambu' in Tamil language, Tamil, 'Bajeer' in Kumaoni language, Kumaoni and 'Maiwa' ...
*
proso millet ''Panicum miliaceum'' is a grain crop with many common names, including proso millet, broomcorn millet, common millet, hog millet, Kashfi millet, red millet, and white millet. Archaeobotany, Archaeobotanical evidence suggests millet was first dom ...
*
sorghum ''Sorghum'' () is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the grass family (Poaceae). Some of these species are grown as cereals for human consumption and some in pastures for animals. One species is grown for grain, while many other ...


Cool-season cereals

*
barley Barley (''Hordeum vulgare''), a member of the grass family, is a major cereal grain grown in temperate climates globally. It was one of the first cultivated grains, particularly in Eurasia Eurasia (, ) is the largest continental area o ...
*
oats The oat (''Avena sativa''), sometimes called the common oat, is a species of Cereal, cereal grain grown for its seed, which is known by the same name (usually in the plural, unlike other cereals and pseudocereals). While oats are suitable for h ...
*
rice Rice is the seed of the Poaceae, grass species ''Oryza sativa'' (Asian rice) or less commonly ''Oryza glaberrima'' (African rice). The name wild rice is usually used for species of the genera ''Zizania (genus), Zizania'' and ''Porteresia'', bo ...
* rye *
spelt Spelt (''Triticum spelta''), also known as dinkel wheat or hulled wheat, is a species of wheat that has been cultivated since approximately 5000 BC. Spelt was an important staple food in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age in Europe, Bronze Age ...
* teff *
triticale Triticale (; × ''Triticosecale'') is a Hybrid (biology), hybrid of wheat (''Triticum'') and rye (''Secale'') first plant breeding, bred in laboratories during the late 19th century in Scotland and Germany. Commercially available triticale is alm ...
*
wheat Wheat is a Poaceae, grass widely Agriculture, cultivated for its seed, a cereal grain that is a worldwide staple food. The Taxonomy of wheat, many species of wheat together make up the genus ''Triticum'' ; the most widely grown is common wheat ...
*
wild rice Wild rice, also called manoomin, Canada rice, Indian rice, or water oats, is any of four species of Poaceae, grasses that form the genus ''Zizania'', and the grain that can be harvested from them. The grain was historically gathered and eate ...


Pseudocereal grains

Starchy grains from broadleaf (dicot) plant families: *
amaranth ''Amaranthus'' is a cosmopolitan distribution, cosmopolitan genus of annual plant, annual or short-lived perennial plants collectively known as amaranths. Some amaranth species are cultivated as leaf vegetables, pseudocereals, and ornamental pl ...
( Amaranth family) also called kiwicha *
buckwheat Buckwheat (''Fagopyrum esculentum''), or common buckwheat, is a flowering plant in the knotweed family Polygonaceae cultivated for its grain-like seeds and as a cover crop. The name "buckwheat" is used for several other species, such as ''Fagopy ...
( Smartweed family) * chia (
Mint family The Lamiaceae ( ) or Labiatae are a family (biology), family of flowering plants commonly known as the mint, deadnettle or sage family. Many of the plants are aromatic in all parts and include widely used culinary herbs like basil (herb), basil ...
) *
quinoa Quinoa (''Chenopodium quinoa''; , from Quechuan languages, Quechua ' or ') is a flowering plant in the Amaranthaceae, amaranth family. It is a herbaceous annual plant grown as a crop primarily for its edible seeds; the seeds are rich in prote ...
( Amaranth family, formerly classified as Goosefoot family) * kañiwa


Pulses

Pulses In medicine, a pulse represents the tactile arterial palpation of the cardiac cycle (heartbeat) by trained fingertips. The pulse may be palpated in any place that allows an artery to be compressed near the surface of the body, such as at the nec ...
or grain
legume A legume () is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or the fruit or seed of such a plant. When used as a dry grain, the seed is also called a pulse. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for human consumption, for livestock for ...
s, members of the pea family, 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: *
chickpeas The chickpea or chick pea (''Cicer arietinum'') is an annual plant, annual legume of the family (biology), family Fabaceae, subfamily Faboideae. Its different types are variously known as gram" or Bengal gram, garbanzo or garbanzo bean, or Egypti ...
* common beans *common
pea The pea is most commonly the small spherical seed or the seed-pod of the flowering plant species ''Pisum sativum''. Each pod contains several peas, which can be green or yellow. Botanically, pea pods are fruit, since they contain seeds and d ...
s (garden peas) * fava beans *
lentils The lentil (''Lens culinaris'' or ''Lens esculenta'') is an edible legume. It is an annual plant known for its Lens (geometry), lens-shaped seeds. It is about tall, and the seeds grow in Legume, pods, usually with two seeds in each. As a food ...
*
lima beans A lima bean (''Phaseolus lunatus''), also commonly known as the butter bean, sieva bean, double bean, Madagascar bean, or wax bean is a legume grown for its edible seeds or beans. Origin and uses ''Phaseolus lunatus'' is found in Mesoamerica, M ...
* lupins *
mung beans The mung bean (''Vigna radiata''), alternatively known as the green gram, maash ( fa, ماش٫ )٫ mūng (), monggo, or munggo (Philippines), is a plant Plants are predominantly Photosynthesis, photosynthetic eukaryotes of the Kingd ...
*
peanut The peanut (''Arachis hypogaea''), also known as the groundnut, goober (US), pindar (US) or monkey nut (UK), is a legume crop grown mainly for its edible Seed, seeds. It is widely grown in the tropics and subtropics, important to both small ...
s *
pigeon peas The pigeon pea (''Cajanus cajan'') is a perennial legume from the family (biology), family Fabaceae native to the Old World. The pigeon pea is widely cultivated in tropical and semitropical regions around the world, being commonly consumed in Sou ...
*
runner beans ''Phaseolus coccineus'', known as runner bean, scarlet runner bean, or multiflora bean, is a plant in the legume family, Fabaceae. Another common name is butter bean, which, however, can also refer to the lima bean, a different species. It is g ...
*
soybeans The soybean, soy bean, or soya bean (''Glycine max'') is a species of legume A legume () is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or the fruit or seed of such a plant. When used as a dry grain, the seed is also called a pulse. ...


Oilseeds

Oilseed grains are grown primarily for the extraction of their
edible oil Cooking oil is plant, animal, or synthetic liquid fat used in frying, baking, and Cooking#Methods, other types of cooking. It is also used in food preparation and flavoring not involving heat, such as salad dressings and bread dips, and may be ca ...
. Vegetable oils provide dietary energy and some
essential fatty acid Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot Biosynthesis, synthesize them. Only two fatty acids are known to be essential for humans: alpha ...
s. They are also used as fuel and lubricants.


Mustard family

* black mustard * India mustard *
rapeseed Rapeseed (''Brassica napus ''subsp.'' napus''), also known as rape, or oilseed rape, is a bright-yellow flowering member of the family Brassicaceae (mustard or cabbage family), cultivated mainly for its oil-rich seed, which naturally contains a ...
(including
canola file:CanolaBlooms.JPG, Close-up of canola blooms file:Canola Flower.jpg, Canola flower Rapeseed oil is one of the oldest known Vegetable oil, vegetable oils. There are both Edible oil, edible and industrial forms produced from rapeseed, the see ...
)


Aster family

*
safflower Safflower (''Carthamus tinctorius'') is a highly branched, herbaceous Herbaceous plants are vascular plants that have no persistent wood, woody stems above ground. This broad category of plants includes many perennial plant, perennials, and ...
*
sunflower seed The sunflower seed is the seed of the Helianthus, sunflower (''Helianthus annuus''). There are three types of commonly used sunflower seeds: Linoleic acid, linoleic (most common), Oleic acid, high oleic, and sunflower oil seeds. Each variety ha ...


Other families

*
flax seed Flax, also known as common flax or linseed, is a flowering plant, ''Linum usitatissimum'', in the family Linaceae. It is cultivated as a food and fiber crop in regions of the world with temperate climates. Textiles made from flax are known in W ...
( Flax family) * hemp seed (
Hemp family Cannabaceae is a small family Family (from la, familia) is a Social group, group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or Affinity (law), affinity (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of the family is ...
) *
poppy seed Poppy seed is an oilseed obtained from the opium poppy (''Papaver somniferum''). The tiny, kidney-shaped seeds have been harvested from dried seed pods by various civilizations for thousands of years. It is still widely used in many countries, ...
( Poppy family)


Historical importance

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 temporary settlements and the division of society into classes.


Trade


Occupational safety and health

Those who handle grain at grain facilities may encounter numerous occupational hazards and exposures. Risks include grain entrapment, where workers are submerged in the grain and unable to remove themselves;
explosions An explosion is a rapid expansion in volume Volume is a measure of occupied three-dimensional space. It is often quantified numerically using SI derived units (such as the cubic metre and litre) or by various imperial or US customary ...
caused by fine particles of grain dust, and falls.


See also

* Ancient grains *
Cereals A cereal is any Poaceae, grass cultivated for the edible components of its grain (botanically, a type of fruit called a caryopsis), composed of the endosperm, Cereal germ, germ, and bran. Cereal Grain, grain crops are grown in greater quantit ...
*
Domestication Domestication is a sustained multi-generational relationship in which humans assume a significant degree of control over the reproduction Reproduction (or procreation or breeding) is the biological process by which new individual organism ...
* Grain drying *
Legume A legume () is a plant in the family Fabaceae (or Leguminosae), or the fruit or seed of such a plant. When used as a dry grain, the seed is also called a pulse. Legumes are grown agriculturally, primarily for human consumption, for livestock for ...
*
List of dried foods This is a list of dried foods. Food drying Food drying is a method of food preservation in which food is drying, dried (dehydrated or desiccation, desiccated). Drying inhibits the growth of bacteria, yeasts, and Mold (fungus), mold through ...
* List of Five grains in world culture *
Mycoestrogen Mycoestrogens are xenoestrogens produced by fungi. They are sometimes referred to as mycotoxins. Among important mycoestrogens are zearalenone, zearalenol and zearalanol. Although all of these can be produced by various ''Fusarium'' species, zeara ...
* Perennial grain * Staple foods *
Vegetable fats and oils Vegetable oils, or vegetable fats, are oils extracted from seeds or from other parts of fruits. Like animal fats, vegetable fats are ''mixtures'' of triglycerides. Soybean oil, grape seed oil, and cocoa butter are examples of seed oils, ...


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Grain Edible nuts and seeds Crops Staple foods Food ingredients Types of food