Nathan W. Childs, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Washington, DC
RICE: Chemistry and Technology, Third Edition
Rice (Oryza sativa L.) is one of the leading food crops in the world and the staple food for more than half the world's population. It is generally considered a semiaquatic, annual grass plant. Cultivars of the two cultivated species, O. sativa L. and O. glaberrima Steud., can grow in a wide range of water-soil regimes, from deeply flooded land to dry, hilly slopes (Luh, 1991b). Because of its long history of cultivation and selection under diverse environments, remarkable diversity exists in rice. The grain is grown in more than 100 countries on every continent except Antarctica, extending from 53° north to 40° south and from sea level to 3,000 m above sea level. However, O. glaberrima is grown only in Africa and only on a limited scale. The production practices for rice in various countries range from extremely primitive to highly mechanized (Luh, 1991b).
Detailed descriptions of various aspects of rice production and utilization have been published by Grist (1975), De Datta (1981), Juliano (1985), and Luh (1991a,b).