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Cereal Foods World, Vol. 65, No. 5
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1094/CFW-65-5-0052
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​​​An Overview of Rice and Rice Quality
Rusty C. Bautista1,2 and Paul Allen Counce3

1 Ph.D., Grain Quality Scientist, Traits & Technology, RiceTec, Inc., 1925 FM 2917, Alvin, TX 77511, U.S.A.

2 Corresponding author. Tel: +1.281.756.3482; E-mail: rbautista@ricetec.com

3 Ph.D., Professor and Rice Physiologist, Rice Research and Extension Center, University of Arkansas, 2900 AR-130, Stuttgart, AR 72160, U.S.A. Tel: +1.870.673.2661; E-mail: pcounce@uark.edu

© 2020 Cereals & Grains Association


Rice is grown over much of the world and provides more calories directly to human beings than any other cereal. Rice production is concentrated in Asia (~90% of total world production), with China and India being the largest single national producers and consumers of rice. Because of its critical role in human nutrition, more rice must be produced annually to provide food for a growing population. Worldwide rice yields increased more than threefold between 1960 and 2019. Much of this production is due to greater yield per hectare of land area rather than increasing land area used in rice production. The increase in yield has been facilitated by genetic improvement of rice varieties through breeding for changing production conditions and improved cropping practices. The development of hybrid rice has also allowed large increases in rice productivity to be achieved. The rice plant is harvested as the rough rice grain, or paddy, which contains approximately 20% husk, 10% bran, and 70% milled rice. The unbroken kernel of rice is the main product of the rice paddy that is consumed by humans. These unbroken (or mostly unbroken) kernels, or head rice, are the largest determinant of rice quality and the primary source of value from the crop. The milled rice kernels or heads are primarily composed of starch, which is mostly amylopectin, and a smaller amount of protein. Critical quality components of the milled rice kernel include percent chalk, protein content, amylose content, cooking properties, and gelatinization characteristics. Optimal timing of harvesting the rice paddy allows head rice yields to be optimized. Since rice is dried after harvest to a safe moisture content for storage, drying practices and conditions must also be optimized to achieve optimal head rice yields. Harvest timing, drying conditions, and storage practices are critical to practical productivity improvements in rice production. Rice is milled after storage, and milling factors dramatically influence overall rice quality. Most rice is consumed directly as milled rice, but many important products, including noodles, puffed rice, flour, and beer, also have critical quality requirements. In the last 60 years, critical improvements in breeding, production practices, harvesting, drying, storage, and milling have enabled a continual flow of more, higher quality rice for the growing global population.

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