Wheat, also called Triticum spp (depending on the specie type), is a cereal grain of the grass family grown worldwide for its beneficial and highly nutritious uses. It represents a major food crop of countries in the temperate regions. On a world basis, wheat is second only to rice and corn as a source of food. Flour, bread, breakfast cereals, pasta, cakes, muffins and boza (fermented beverage) are few examples of the list of foods that can be made with this grain.
1. Scientific Classification:
Kingdom: Plantae - Division: Magnoliphyta - Class: Liliopsida – Order: Poales – Family: Poaceae – Subfamily: Pooideae – Genus: Triticum
2. Wheat Diversity
Besides its ubiquitous role in the food culture, wheat can be grown in most of the world’s acreage than any other crop. It is also adaptable to a wide range of soils and climates that allows its worldwide expansion (Reitz, et al, 1976). Eight species of wheat can be cultivated. They are: the Common wheat, Club wheat, Durum wheat, Poulard wheat, Polish wheat, Emmer, Spelt, and Einkorn. Within these species, there are numerous varieties adapted to different climatic conditions.
3. Historical Review
Wheat has been known to be the first cereal cultivated. The oldest remains of wheat seeds were found in the excavated site of a 7th millennium BC village in the Tigris-Euphrates valley (Pomeranz Y., 1988). This area was known as the Fertile Crescent. Wheat cultivation started to spread beyond the Fertile Crescent during the Neolithic period. Because of the loss of seed dispersal mechanisms and technology, propagation of domesticated wheat was slow and limited. Five thousands years ago, wheat cultivation had reached Great Britain, Ireland, Spain and India (Pomeranz Y., 1988). One millennium later, it was able to reach China. Three thousand years ago, the use of seed drills and agricultural cultivation with tractors, fertilizers and threshing...