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Science about rice

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Seeds

Monsanto

In April 2000, Monsanto announced that it had partly unveiled the rice genome. The company then officially handed in its database to the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, which led the International Rice Genome Sequencing Project (IRGSP) until the research was finalized.
Today biotechnology (e.g., genetically modified organisms -GMO) allows research institutes and transnational companies to launch transgenic rice varieties containing interesting nutrients for the human diet (vitamines among other things).
Biodiversity
Fruit of a slow evolution, rice offers an extraordinary biodiversity. The Veda, sacred writings of the Hindu, sites the existence of more than 500.000 varieties of rice. Before the Second World War, approximately 100.000 varieties were counted in Asia and the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute) currently conserves at least 86.000 varieties collected from more than 113 countries.
Selecting varieties by crossing methods has led to the introduction of high-yielding varieties to the market, as well as the introduction of precocious rice. The vegetation period for this rice is shorter, from 90 to 120 days (compared with the normal 120 to 150 days)which favors high yields in experimental parcels (from 10 to 12 tons per hectare, compared with the more traditional 1 to 5 tons per ha). Research work is currently being conducted with the purpose of developing varities having a higher productivity that require fewer inputs and less water. The most widespread and prefered varieties are the Japonica rice, with short and round grains, and aromatic rices (Basmati from Pakistán and India and Jasmine from Thailand).

The spread of transgenic techniques leads to a homogenization of vegetal growth and the disappearance of under-explored local varieties. An enormous natural richness is seriously being threatened.

Rice is the seed of a monocot plant Oryza sativa. As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East, South, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and the West Indies. It is the grain with the second highest worldwide production, after maize ("corn").

 

Since a large portion of maize crops are grown for purposes other than human consumption, rice is probably the most important grain with regards to human nutrition and caloric intake, providing more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by the human species.

A traditional food plant in Africa, rice has the potential to improve nutrition, boost food security, foster rural development and support sustainable landcare.

Rice 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.[4] The rice plant can grow to 1–1.8 m tall, occasionally more depending on the variety and soil fertility. The grass has long, slender leaves 50–100 cm long and 2–2.5 cm broad. The small wind-pollinated flowers are produced in a branched arching to pendulous inflorescence 30–50 cm long. The edible seed is a grain (caryopsis) 5–12 mm long and 2–3 mm thick.

Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labor costs and high rainfall, as it is very labor-intensive to cultivate and requires plenty of water for cultivation. Rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain. Although its parent species are native to South Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many cultures worldwide.

 

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 with rice growing and cultivation the flooding is not mandatory, all other methods of irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil. A Japanese person will eat 1.2kg of rice in a week.

Producing technology

Economizing up to 25 percent of water
A modern cultivation technique allows producers to save up to 25 percent of the water used in rice fields compared with traditional cultivation. This method is characterized by:
- Pre-germinated seeds sown directly onto puddled (muddied) fields, rather than the traditional transplanting of young plants (25-30 days old) to fields covered with water;
- Fields periodically irrigated, with no negative consequences to the yield compared to the traditional system where they are kept permanently flooded;
- Mechanical or chemical techniques are used to control weeds, instead of flooding the fields continuously;
- Leveling fields to limit water quantity to the strict necessary.
Within 30 years, approximately half of the world population will depend on rice as its main food source. This method is therefore of great importance for future rice production.
Radar systems for monitoring rice production
The synthetic aperture radar (SAR), such as the European ERS, the Japanese JERS-1 and the Canadian RADARSAT, monitors rice growth and surface yield. In addition, the specific PRIVATEERS treatments (image calibration, speckle filtering and classification methods) coupled with know-how (agronomy, radar physics) allow for the extraction of useful information, such as land-use and area of rice paddies from the satellite SAR images.
The resulting classification can be used to improve forecasts on rice production which in turn provides valuable information for the stock market exchange.

Processing technology

Hypoallergenic rice
Shiseido developed a hypoallergenic rice for those who suffer from uncommon allergies. This rice contains an enzyme that eliminates globulin, a substance that is present in rice and may cause allergic reactions.
Vitamin A Rice (or "Golden Rice")
The European Union finances a project called "Carotene Plus", which allows for enriching rice with beta carotene (provitamin A). It helps prevent a deficiency in Vitamin A, which provokes blindness in children and increases vulnerability to infectious respiratory illnesses, diarrhea and rubella - aggravators of child mortality. The risk of a Vitamin A deficiency is significantly high in 118 countries where the average diet is based on rice. http://www.unctad.org/infocomm/anglais/rice/technology.htm                          

Leading Rice Export Countries

Chinese Rice Exports Down 65% while Indian Grain Shipments Rise 41%
In total, Thailand and the U.S. grow 6% of the global rice harvest yet account for about 45% of worldwide rice exports.
According to the latest rice statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Thailand exports more milled rice by weight than any other country.
In 2004, overall world rice exports were 29 million tons up 4.4% from 2003. Thailand, India, Vietnam, the United States and Pakistan lead the world in rice exports.
Thailand Leading Rice Exporter
Thailand’s rice exports fell slightly to 9.7 million tons in 2007 and are expected to drop further to 8.5 million tons in 2008. While Thailand has not yet announced quotas or other restrictions on its rice exports, that could change given that other large rice exporters like India and Vietnam have announced controls including premium pricing to constrain rice shipments as a way to feed domestic consumers and control rising price inflation in the home country.
The analysis below identifies other top rice exporting regions from around the world.

Rice Exporters by Continent

  1. Asia … 22.1 million tons (76.3% of global rice exports)
  2. North and Central America … 3.1 million tons (10.6%)
  3. Europe … 1.6 million tons (5.4%)
  4. South America … 1.2 million tons (4.2%)
  5. Africa … 952,380 tons (3.3%).

Top Rice Exporters by Country

The rice exporting countries on the list below are responsible for 97% of world rice exports, led by Thailand.
Thailand export 8 million tons (27.60% of global rice exports)
Vietnam … 6 million tons (20.67%)
Pakistan … 3.8 million tons (13.5%)
United States … 3.1 million tons (10.6%) 
India … 2. million tons (7.12%) 
China (including Taiwan) … 1500,000 tons (5.35%)
Myanmar … 1,052,800 tons (3.75%)
Cambodia...800,000 (2.66%)
Uruguay … 750,000 tons (2.5%)
Egypt … 836,940 tons (2.9%)
Italy … 668,940 tons (2.3%)
Brazil...650,000 tons (2.2%)
Spain … 346,030 tons (1.2%)
Argentina … 257,750 tons (0.9%)
Guyana … 256,330 tons (0.9%)
United Arab Emirates … 164,350 tons (0.6%)
Belgium-Luxembourg … 157,190 tons (0.5%) 
Guyana … 256,330 tons (up 59.2% in 2004)
Argentina … 257,750 tons (up 45.1%)
Egypt … 836,940 tons (up 42.9%)
United Arab Emirates … 164.35 (down 14.6%)
Spain … 346.03 (down 9.4%)
Uruguay … 625 (down 2.5%)

Big rice import countries:

Philippines... 2,600,000 tons
Iran...1,700,000 tons
Nigeria...1,600,000 tons
Saudi Arabia....1,400,000 tons
EU:  1,350,000 tons
Iraq...1,100,000 tons
Malaysia...850,000 tons
Malaysia...850,000 tons
South Africa...800,000 tons
Côte d"Ivore 860,000 tons
Senegal....715,000 tons

Fastest-growing Rice Exporters by Country
Rice shipments from the following countries rose the fastest in 2004 from the prior year.
  1. Guyana … 256,330 tons (up 59.2% in 2004)
  2. Argentina … 257,750 tons (up 45.1%)
  3. Egypt … 836,940 tons (up 42.9%)
  4. India … 4.8 million tons (up 40.9%)
  5. Thailand … 10 million tons (up 19.0%)
  6. Italy … 668,940 tons (up 17.3%)
  7. Vietnam … 4.5 million tons (up 7.9%)
  8. Belgium-Luxembourg … 154,200 tons (up 1.9%)
  9. Pakistan … 1.8 million tons (up 0.2%).

Fastest-declining Rice Exporters by Country

The rice-producing nations below decreased their milled rice exports the most in 2004.
  1. China (including Taiwan) … 901.55 (down 65.4% in 2004)
  2. Myanmar … 150.03 (down 61.3%)
  3. United States … 3,066.77 (down 19%)
  4. United Arab Emirates … 164.35 (down 14.6%)
  5. Spain … 346.03 (down 9.4%)
  6.  Uruguay … 625 (down 2.5%).

    Domesticated rice comprises two species of food crops in the Poaceae ("true grass") family, Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. These plants are native to tropical and subtropical southern Asia and outheastern Africa.  (The term "wild rice" can refer to the wild species of Oryza, but conventionally refers to pecies of the related genus Zizania, both wild and domesticated.) Rice is grown as a onocarpic annual plant, lthough in tropical areas it can survive as a perennial and can produce a ratoon crop and survive for up to 20 years.  Rice can grow to 1–1.8 m tall, occasionally more depending on the variety and soil fertility. The grass has long, slender leaves 50–100 cm long and 2–2.5 cm broad. The small wind-pollinated flowers are produced in a branched arching to pendulous inflorescence 30–50 cm long. The edible seed is a grain (caryopsis) 5–12 mm long and 2–3 mm thick.Rice is a staple for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Latin America and East, South and Southeast Asia, making it the second-most consumed cereal grain.[3] Rice provides more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans.[4] In early 2008, some governments and retailers began rationing supplies of the grain due to fears of a global rice shortage.[5][6]Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labour costs and high rainfall, as it is very labour-intensive to cultivate and requires plenty of water for cultivation. Rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain. Although its species are native to South Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many cultures.The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields with 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. Whilst with rice growing and cultivation the flooding is not mandatory, all other methods of irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil.

    Cultivation

 

 Domesticated rice comprises two species of food crops in the Poaceae ("true grass") family, Oryza sativa and Oryza glaberrima. These plants are native to tropical and subtropical southern Asia and southeastern Africa. (The term "wild rice" can refer to the wild species of Oryza, but conventionally refers to species of the related genus Zizania, both wild and domesticated.) Rice is grown as a monocarpic annual plant, although in tropical areas it can survive as a perennial and can produce a ratoon crop and survive for up to 20 years.  Rice can grow to 1–1.8 m tall, occasionally more depending on the variety and soil fertility. The grass has long, slender leaves 50–100 cm long and 2–2.5 cm broad. The small wind-pollinated flowers are produced in a branched arching to pendulous inflorescence 30–50 cm long. The edible seed is a grain (caryopsis) 5–12 mm long and 2–3 mm thick.Rice is a staple for a large part of the world's human population, especially in Latin America and East, South and Southeast Asia, making it the second-most consumed cereal grain.  Rice provides more than one fifth of the calories consumed worldwide by humans.  In early 2008, some governments and retailers began rationing supplies of the grain due to fears of a global rice shortage. Rice cultivation is well-suited to countries and regions with low labour costs and high rainfall, as it is very labour-intensive to cultivate and requires plenty of water for cultivation. Rice can be grown practically anywhere, even on a steep hill or mountain. Although its species are native to South Asia and certain parts of Africa, centuries of trade and exportation have made it commonplace in many cultures.The traditional method for cultivating rice is flooding the fields with 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. Whilst with rice growing and cultivation the flooding is not mandatory, all other methods of irrigation require higher effort in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil.

 Preparation as food

Old fashioned way of rice polishing in Japan.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. However the use of white rice, although more convenient for the food processing industries (white rice keeps longer), and in the eyes of some consumers more 'attractive', has in the past been associated with serious deficiency diseases amongst consumers (see Beriberi).Brown rice contains all of the ingredients of a healthy meal, but is not standard for commercial offerings. The removal of bran was blamed for Beriberi disease; however, it is possible that aflatoxins and other mycotoxins contributed to the problem.In the future, parboiling may be used to move some of the nutrients from the bran to the rice corn before stripping off the bran, thereby reducing the loss in nutrition. However, the energy requirements for parboiling are high compared to dry processing technologies.White rice may be also 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 flour. 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.Terraced rice paddy on a hill slopeDespite the hypothetical health risks of talc (such as stomach cancer),  talc-coated rice remains the norm in some countries due to its attractive shiny appearance, but it has been banned in some and is no longer widely used in others such as the United States. Even where talc is not used, glucose, starch, or other coatings may be used to improve the appearance of the grains; for this reason, many rice lovers still recommend washing all rice in order to create a better-tasting rice with a better consistency, despite the recommendation of suppliers. Much of the rice produced today is water polished.[citation needed]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 an 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 sake. Rice flour is generally safe for people on a gluten-free diet. 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 1 week to 30 days).Processed rice seeds are usually boiled or steamed to make them edible, after which they may be fried in oil or butter, or beaten in a tub to make mochi.Although rice is a good source of protein and a staple food in many parts of the world, it is not a complete protein. That is, 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, soybeans or meat.[8]Rice, like other cereal grains, can be puffed (or popped). This process takes advantage of the grains' water content and typically involves heating grain pellets in a special chamber. Further puffing is sometimes accomplished by processing pre-puffed pellets in a low-pressure chamber. The ideal gas law means that 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 more than tenfold when puffed.

 

Cooking

Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming. It can be cooked in just enough water to cook it through (the absorption method), or it can be cooked in a large quantity of water which is drained before serving (the rapid-boil method). Electric rice cookers, which are popular in Asia and Latin America, simplify the process of cooking rice.In Arab cuisine rice is the ingredient of many soups and dishes with fish, poultry and meat. It is also used to stuff vegetables or is wrapped in grape leaves. 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.[9]Also extremely popular are combination cooking methods; for example fried rice is boiled (or steamed) rice that has afterwards been stir-fried in oil.Rice may also be made into rice porridge (also called congee or rice gruel) by adding more water than usual, so that the cooked rice is saturated with water to the point that it becomes very soft, expanded, and fluffy. Rice porridge is commonly eaten as a breakfast food, and is also a traditional food for the sick.Rice may be soaked prior to cooking, which decreases cooking time. For some varieties, soaking improves the texture of the cooked rice by increasing expansion of the grains.In some culinary traditions, especially those of Latin America, Italy, and Turkey, dry rice grains are fried in oil before cooking in water.In some countries, rice is commonly consumed as parboiled rice, also known as Minute rice or easy-cook rice. Parboiled rice is subjected to a steaming or parboiling process while still a brown rice. This causes nutrients from the outer husk to move into the grain itself. The parboil process causes a gelatisisation of the starch in the grains. The grains become less brittle, and the colour of the milled grain changes from white to yellow. The rice is then dried, and can then be milled as usual or consumed as brown rice. Milled parboil rice is nutritionally superior to standard milled rice. Parboiled rice has an additional benefit in that it does not stick to the pan during cooking as happens when cooking regular white rice.A nutritionally superior method of preparing brown rice known as GABA Rice or GBR (Germinated Brown Rice) may be used. This involves soaking washed brown rice for 20 hours in warm water (38 °C or 100 °F) prior to cooking it. This process stimulates germination, which activates various enzymes in the rice. By this method, a result of research carried out for the United Nations Year of Rice, it is possible to obtain a more complete amino acid profile, including GABA.Cooked rice can contain Bacillus cereus spores which produce an emetic toxin when left between 4-60 degrees Celsius . When storing cooked rice for use the next day, rapid cooling is advised to reduce the risk of contamination.

 

Production history

Etymology

According to the Microsoft Encarta Dictionary (2004) and the Chambers Dictionary of Etymology (1988), the word rice has an Indo-Iranian origin. It came to English from Greek óryza, via Latin oriza, Italian riso and finally Old French ris (the same as present day French riz).

It has been speculated that the Indo-Iranian vrihi itself is borrowed from a Dravidian vari (< PDr. *warinci) or even a Munda language term for rice or the Tamil name ar-risi from which the Arabic ar-ruzz, from which the Portuguese and Spanish word arroz originated. (wikipedia)

 

THE HISTORY OF RICE

Study the history of rice and you will discover that it is bound up with many strange and fascinatig myths.Rice has fed more people than any other crop, and the story of its cultivation must rank as one of the most important developments in history. Almost every cultrue in the East has its own rice legend, and in many Asian countries these stories are still celebrated today. In Bali and other parts or Indonesia, puppets act out a creatino myth, which tells of how Lord Vishnu casued the Earth to five birth to rice,and the god Indra taught the people how it should be grown,From China comes the story of a devastating flood, which left all the crops destroyed. Facing certain starvation, the peple of the town one day saw the dog with stange yellow seeds hanging from its tail.Rice grew when the seeds were planted in the waterlogged soil. In the many myths from around Indonesia, Thailand and Japan, the rice spirit is always feminine. She is young and tender-a beautiful maiden, dusted with rice powder to emphasize her perfect white skin. In almost all of the many Asian cultures, the femininity of rice is reflected in the way it is grown. Men prepare the land, build the dykes and attend to irrigation, but it is the women who plant the rice ,tend it in the fields, cut it and, finally, cook it.




There are mumerous signs all over South-east Asia that rice is still highly revered today. A family will traditionally store its rice in a rice barn. These beautiful and elaborate buildings are where the rice spirit is said to reside until the time of the nixt planting, and there are often strict rules about who may enter these barns. Usually, only the women are allowed inside, and even then only once a day.

The myths of these rice cultures tell us a great deal about the history of rice and highlight its central role in people's lives. How and when it was first grown is more difficult to discover. What is certain is that it is native to south-east Asia and has been cultiveated there for perhaps 8000 years. Evidence from a cave in northern Thailand proves that rice was being cultivated from around 6000 BV.

Rice, which is a member of the grass family, grew extensively in thailand. It is likely that early man first grew wild rice, and only later began cultivating local species. Some scholars believe that this first rice would have been dry and that wet rice was a later development. Ohter say that people grew whatever rice was best suited to their particular environment. Certainly rice is adaptable, and will accommodate itself to the habitat; some varieties tolerate floods and cold nights, while others survive hot temperatures and relatively little water.

Gradually, people realised the value of this sustaining crop, and rice began to travel. From north-east India and Thailand, rice spread first through South-east Asia, and then further afield. Rice cultiveation is believed to have begun in China in the Yangtze River delta around 4000 BC, althoug the rice may at first have been considered nothing more than a weed, as taro toot was cultivated in parts of this region around this time. Rice isn't thought to have become an important part of the Chinese diet until around 800 BC.



By the 9th century AD, rice eas widely eaten in southern China, but in the north, where it could not be grown, it was food only for the wealthy. Remarkably, rice was not cultivated in Japan until the second century BC and even then, millet remained the principal cereal for most Japanese. Twelve hundred years later, in spite of famine, rice was still mainly a food for the rich and was not to be consumed in any large quantity for another 800 years.

 

 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 06 April 2010 14:22  

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