Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/7/2002
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Barley is recognized as one of the very first crops to be domesticated for human consumption. Today, it remains one of the major cereal crops grown in the world, including the USA. Barley is grown on every continent on which crops are grown. It is well adapted to diverse environmental conditions, and thus it is produced across a broader geographic distribution than other cereals. Relative to other cereal crops, barley ranks fourth in total grain production. The grain of barley enters the human food chain via distinctly different routes. First, barley is used as an animal feed and therefore makes an essential contribution to the human diet indirectly through meat production. Second, barley serves as a substrate for the production of alcoholic beverages, in particular beer. Third, a minor amount of barley is used to produce a diverse range of foodstuffs eaten by humans. The aim of this chapter is to summarize the biology of the barley plant, the history of barley use, barley production, and main uses of this economically important crop species.