A cereal is a Plante cultivated mainly for its Graine S used in the food of the Homme and the pets, often ground in the form of Farine, but also in grains and sometimes in the form of whole plant (Fourrage S). The term “cereal” also indicates, specifically the seed of these plants.
Currently, the cereals provide the major part (45%) food calories of humanity.
On the botanical level, the cereals belong to the family of the Poacées (or Graminées ), except for the buckwheat ( Polygonacées ). Certain seeds of other botanical families are sometimes comparable with cereals: the Quinoa ( Chénopodiacées ) and the Sesame ( Pédaliacée S ).
Their name comes from the Latin cerealis , which refers to Cérès, Roman goddess of the harvest S.
The influence of cereals on the history of humanity
It is considered that the culture of cereals allowed the rise of large the Civilization S, because it constituted one of the first agricultural activities. Indeed, by providing a regular and abundant food to the populations, the cereals allowed the organization of denser companies and more complexes. This is due to the fact that the outputs are high and the conservation of seeds is good, which allows the constitution of reserves.
Thus means-Eastern civilizations then European were built around the Blé, those of the Far East around the Riz, those of the Amerindian people around the Maïs and those of black Africa around the millet.
Human consumptionIn human consumption it is especially the Blé, the Riz and secondarily the Maïs which are used today. The Orge is useful especially in Brasserie for manufacture of the Malt.
the Principal shapes of consumption of cereals:
- in grains: Rice, Corn, Corn (often précuit), German wheat, Barley, Oats, Quinoa.
- Flour: common wheat, Rye, German wheat, for the Bakery (Bread, wafers) and the Pastry making;
- Semolina: durum wheat (Couscous, pasta Products, Boulghour), corn (Polenta), Fonio
- Pulp: Oats (Porridge: English food catch for the Breakfast)
- flakes: oats
- pasta Products: durum wheat, rye, German wheat, rice.
Nutritive characteristicsThe cereal seeds, which are the family of food at the base of the human consumption, generally contain:
- much of Glucid S, approximately 70% to 80%, in the form of Starch;
- of the Protein S (up to 15% for durum wheat);
- of the Lipid S in small proportion (less than 5%), coming from the germ; one can extract from the plant oil of certain cereals;
- of the Rock salt.
The seed is surrounded by a primarily consituée cuticule of Cellulose, the its .
The cereals are especially interesting for their energy contribution, in the form of slow sugars. They are also a source of Vitamine S and fibers food. Their proteins miss some amino-acid essential, like the Lysine or the Tryptophane. Certain cereals contain a particular Protéine, the Gluten, which makes it possible to make Pain of it. They are called bread grains: they are the wheat, the German wheat and the Seigle).
The consumption of Riz peeled (white rice) can cause a deficiency in B1 vitamin or thiamin, causes, in the absence of food complement, of the Béri-béri. The corn excessive consumption, which did not undergo the process of Nixtamalisation, can lead to a deficiency in PP vitamin, causes Pellagre. At certain predisposed people, the gluten can cause the cœliaque disease, which involves an atrophy of the intestinal Muqueuse.
Animal feedsThe major part of the worldwide production is intended for the animal feed. In animal feeds practically all the cereals are used, even the Blé traditionally reserved for the man, in various forms:
- whole seeds;
- seeds crushed and incorporated in the Provende S;
- whole plants collected before maturity, in the form of Ensilage: Corn and Sorghum.
In addition to their seeds, certain cereals provide also fodder and straw.
- production of ethanol and alcoholic drinks by Fermentation and Distillation: Aquavit, Beer, gin, Saké, Vodka, Whiskey…
- derived from the Starch, syrups, dextrose, dextrin, polyols… resulting mainly from the Corn, and used in the agro-alimentary one, the paper mill, pharmacy and various another industrial sectors.
- the Straw, generally hidden after the harvest or used like litter, and the corn raids (shelled ears), can be treated to produce ethanol, usable like Biocarburant.
Economic importanceThe world cereal harvest rises to 2,07 billion tons (year 2003). That represents a rough average of 345 kg per capita and per annum (for 6 billion inhabitants on the whole), average which is established to 155 kg for cereals intended for the human consumption.
Place des cereals in the agricultural productionAugust 1st
Production of cereals in the world
Trade of cereals
Canary seed of the Canaries ( Canary grass canariensis )
- Oats ( Avena sativa )
- Corn starch manufacturer ( Triticum dicoccum )
- durum Wheat ( Triticum durum )
- common Wheat or wheat ( Triticum aestivum )
- poulard Corn ( Triticum turgidum )
- Engrain ( Triticum monoccocum )
- German wheat ( Triticum spelta )
- Coix ( Coix lachryma-jobi ),
- Eleusine cultivated ( Eleusine coracana L.)
- Fonio ( Digitaria exilis )
- wheat or common Wheat ( Triticum aestivum )
- Kamut ( Triticum turgidum ssp. turanicum )
- Maïs ( Zea mays )
- common Millet ( Panicum miliaceum )
- Millet of the birds ( Setaria italica )
- Japanese Millet ( Echinochloa frumentacea )
- Millet beads ( Pennisetum glaucum )
- Orge ( Hordeum vulgare )
- beaded Orge
- Riz ( Oryza sativa )
- wild Riz ( Zizania palustris )
- Sarrasin ( Fagopyrum esculentum )
- Seigle ( secale cereal )
- Sorghum ( Sorghum bicolor )
- Teff ( Eragrostis tef ).
- Triticale ( Triticum secale )
History of the cultivation of cereals
See also: Origins of agriculture
August 1stbreeding tend to decrease in relative value. There exist several kinds of cereals, cultivated on the same soil. The medieval documents evoke “corns” ( villages ): this generic term recovers actually a range of various cereals: it can indicate wheat, but also the German wheat, the barley, the oats or the millet. These “corns” are of unequal quality: the durum wheat is opposed to common wheat (wheat); the white corn indicates the wheat, the buckwheat, buckwheat. The cereals which we consume today became very different. The preparation of cereals requires the existence of Meule S installed in the country houses. With the traditional Middle Ages, the use of the Moulin seigneurial is an economic monopoly. It gives place to the payment of a tax to the representative of the lord Ban Al
the wheat: corn sown in autumn and harvested in summer, the wheat is the cereal most cultivated with the traditional Moyen-âge. It replaced the German wheat of the Carolingian time gradually. The wheat is the noble cereal par excellence: it gave a bread of great quality and was used for the preparation of the Hostie S.
the oats: just like the wheat, it acts of a cereal whose progression is explained by the development of the breeding, in particular of the horses. With the rise of the Knighthood in XIe-XIIIe centuries, the requirements out of oats increase. The supply constitutes essential problems during the periods of war. Lastly, let us not forget that the horse is also used for its force of traction. In the north of France, it is employed more and more for the operations of ploughing. The oats are consumed in the form of pulp. Not very demanding cereal, it hardly pushes in Mediterranean medium where springs are too dry.
the Orge is a cereal of winter, even if it happens that it is sown in spring in the Mediterranean regions. It enters the manufacture of the Bière and the Cervoise. It is given to the cattle and can be turned into bread with wheat. Its relative importance tends to decrease during the Middle Ages.
the Seigle is sown in winter and pushes especially in mountain. Its flour makes it possible to produce a black bread of poor quality.
the Millet (graminaceous) is a cereal of spring and can be planted in correction until May/June.
the Méteil indicates a mixture of two cereals cultivated on the same piece.
Modern times and XIXe century
AfricaAmong African cereals, the Fonio , Digitaria exilis , is regarded as oldest cultivated Graminée Senegal with the Chad. Its characteristics deserve to be announced: it is of small size (80 cm); its seed also small but rich in Methionine and Cystine, Amino-acid which one can note the deficiency in the majority of modern cereals, it is richer in calcium and insulino-secreting elements. In spite of poor yield (600 to 700 kg/ha), the fonio is a culture of good guarantee of harvest, from its little of requirement and its adaptation to the difficult conditions. It is the Food safety good number of African, first collected with the varieties with short cycle and last in the attic thanks to its seed resistant to all the aggressions.
Agronomic characteristicsOne distinguishes two types of cereals, the cereals of winter and the cereals of spring, according to the moment of sowing. The cereals of winter are generally sown with the autumn and spend the winter in a vegetative state, while the cereals of spring are generally sown in spring to germinate immediately.
The plants which accompany cereals with straw (" bad herbes") are known as Messicole S.
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