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Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cereal grains for human consumption

Cereal grains are the fruit of plants belonging to the grass family (Gramineae). Cereal grains provided about 80% of the calories and protein consumed by humans. Although some plant foods eaten by livestock, such as grasses and forages, are not suitable for human foods, grains and legumes most certainly are.

Major use for barley in North Africa is for human food, while most of the rest of the world, major purposes are feed and industrial uses. In case of oats, in Britain and Brazil, the largest proportion goes to human food. In many countries, including those close to Britain in Europe the major use is for feed.

In developing countries, maize is used for human consumption, while in the developed countries it is mainly for industrial use and animal feed.

Cereal grains have always been the dominant source of human food for several reasons. Cereals can be cultured under a wide range of environmental conditions e.g. soil types, moisture levels and temperatures and they yield large quantities of nutrient per unit of land area.

In addition, cereals have relatively low moisture content 13% - 15% at harvest and can be transported more efficiently than potatoes, cassava and other vegetables, which are about 80% water.

Cereal crops are energy dense, containing 10000 - 15000 kJ/kg about 10-20 times more energy than most succulent fruit and vegetables. Nutritionally, they are important sources of dietary protein, carbohydrates, the B complex of vitamins, vitamin E, iron, trace minerals and fiber.
Cereal grains for human consumption

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