Rice to meet you!

General description

Rice, scientifically known as Oryza sativa, is one of about twenty aquatic or swamp-dwelling, annual or perennial grasses in the genus, occurring wild in warmer parts of Africa, Asia, and Australia. Rice falls under the family of grass, which is Poaceae, which consists of about three hundred and fifty species of different genera that includes seven species of Oryza, which have been reported as weeds of rice. The genus Oryza includes more than twenty wild species, but only two species Oryza sativa (Asian rice) and Oryza glaberrima (African rice), are domesticated.

During the last three decades, farming practices and management systems have been intensified in many rice-producing countries. It is grown in at least one hundred and fourteen countries worldwide. Today, almost all East Asia is wholly dependent upon rice as a staple food. Rice is the principal food commodity for nearly half of the population of the world, with a global annual production estimated at four hundred ninety-eight million metric tons reported from 2019 to 2020. In addition, more recent socioeconomic changes have caused agricultural abandonment in some parts of East and Southeast Asian countries such as Japan. Asia alone accounts for over ninety percent of the global rice production and consumption, and the central Asian countries that produce substantial quantities of tice include China, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Korea, Japan, and the Philippines.

They have loose panicles of compressed flowering spikelets that ripen to edible grains. The only species to have been domestical, rice, is thought to have been cultivated in China for about five thousand years.

Pollination and flowering

Rice pollination occurs when pollen grains fall by gravity from the anther onto the stigma and has been thought to be assured under suitable conditions. However, the stigma position relative to the anther pores may affect pollination. The inclination of panicle, which is quite usual in the agricultural scene, may change the relative position of anther and stigma.

In rice, the term ‘flowering’ has several meanings, including inflorescence initiation, development of the flower structure, panicle extrusion (heading), and flower opening (anthesis). This review focuses on developing the floral structure, with a brief examination of inflorescence initiation, heading, and flower opening.

The floral architecture of grass species is very different from that of eudicots. The structural units of the grass flower are spikelets and florets. The spikelet is the primary unit of the grass inflorescence, and it comprises glumes (bract-like organs) and florets. The floret consists of bract-like organs (lemma and palea), lodicules (equivalent to eudicot petals), stamens, and carpel. Both lemma and palea are grass-specific organs, but their identities are still controversial.

The number of florets in a spikelet varies among grass species. In rice, one spikelet contains a fertile floret and a pair of sterile lemmas (also called ‘empty glumes’), subtended by highly reduced rudimentary glumes. The sterile lemma is usually not observed in other grass spikelets except for those of Oryza and some other grass species, and its identity is controversial.

Cultivation and horticultural practices

Rice needs a long hot growing season and abundant water. Flooded rice fields can provide habitats for wetland species and ecosystem services similar to natural wetlands. The seeds are sown in nursery beds or trays, germinating to six inches high. In spring, they are transplanted to a well-fertilized level plot or ‘paddy’, which must be submerged underwater about two to four inches deep for a large part of the summer growing season. Water for lowland rice is needed for land preparation and to match the outflows by seepage, percolation, evaporation, and transpiration during crop growth.

Cultivated rice evolved from a semiaquatic, perennial ancestor, and rice separated evolutionarily from other Gramineae before grasses moved from the forest floor to more open habitats. Like other cereals such as wheat and barley, rice belongs to the C3 grasses, whereas cereals like maize ad sorghum belong to C4 grasses. The critical differences between rice and other cereals include shoot and root anatomy, water loss patterns, and growth responses to soil water status drier than saturation. Rice is very sensitive to reduced water availability in the period around flowering as this dramatically affects spikelet sterility.

The traditional rice cultivation method is flooding the fields, which is labor-intensive and requires ample water supplies. Due to workforce limitations and the problematic water management of conventional pebbled rice transplantation, rice cultivation practices have increasingly switched to direct-seeded rice. Direct seeded rice technology through wet, dry, or water seeding positively affects the yield, which requires less labor and a reduced water management requirement.

However, weeds management must be practised as the infestations of rice fields with weeds have become a significant problem since the adoption of direct-seeded rice as the absence of the suppressive effect of flooding on the weeds that emerge either before or along with the rice crop. Weed infestations can cause severe economic losses by decreasing rice quality and yield; the loss can be as high as one hundred percent under direct-seeded rice conditions.

When the rice is ready to harvest, the water is drained from the field. Rice can be grown in pots submerged in shallow water in a sunny position near a water feature or pond for ornamental purposes. Mountain rice is grown in ‘dry’ conditions but needs high rainfall.

However, rice cultivation faces several challenges and significant issues, in which low temperature is the greatest concern of tice growers in temperate regions. Water used in the cultivation is the primary factor determining the success of the rice crop. Water efficiency, availability, and quality strongly rely on the drainage system to avoid waterlogging, salinity, toxicity, and water pollution. Also, some countries faced constraints whereby there were marginal lands and changes in soil characteristics resulting from mining effects and fertility change. The flooded rice paddy field also has high potential greenhouse gases like methane gas.


About 90% of the world’s rice production is harvested from irrigated or rainfed lowland rice fields (also called ‘‘paddies’’). Oryza sativa is an annual grass about three feet high with long flattened leaves and flower spikelets, producing yellow or brown seeds. It is one of the most important crops in the world. Rice can be grown in different environments, depending upon water availability.

Usually, lowland rice is raised in a seedbed and then transplanted into the main field. Rice can also be established by direct wet seeding (broadcasting pregerminated seeds onto wet soil) or dry direct seeding (broadcasting dry seeds onto dry or moist soil) directly on the main field. There are two types of lowland rice which are rainfed and irrigated rice. Rainfed rice is drought-prone and favors medium depth, which needs to be planted at waterlogged, submergence, and flood-prone areas. Irrigated rice is grown in both the wet and dry seasons. There is also a deep-water rice plant known as floating rice. Rice plants also can be planted in a coastal wetland. In addition, rice can be grown at the hill known as upland rice, hill rice, or Ghaiya rice. They are well known for their drought tolerance.

Oryza sativa has been differentiated into indica, japonica, and javanica varieties. Weedy rice (Oryza sativa f. spontanea) is taxonomically classified as the same species as cultivated rice. Apart from weedy rice, the wild ancestors of cultivated rice, like Oryza rufipogon Griff., Oryza barthii A. Chev., and Oryza nivara S.D. There are several cultivars: Indica, Aus, Temperate japonica, Aromatic, and Tropical japonica.

Sprouted brown rice, sometimes called germinated brown rice, looks like regular brown rice. Germinated brown rice is considered whole food because only the outermost layer that is the hull of the rice kernel is removed, which causes minor damage to its nutritional value. However, the sprouted rice yields a slightly sweeter flavor and a less chewy texture once it is cooked.

Most rice cultivars are anaerobic species, whereas upland rice can be considered aerobic rice due to the availability of oxygen in the soil. The cultivars are drought tolerant but have a low-yield potential and tend to lodge with high external inputs such as fertilizer and supplementary irrigation. The advantages of cultivating aerobic rice are cost-saving where irrigated areas where water has become so scarce or expensive that lowland rice cannot be maintained anymore. Compared with lowland rice breeding, the aerobic rice breeding program is tiny, and the genetic basis is very narrow.

Weedy rice is widely distributed all around the globe. Weedy rice is taller, and they have the characteristics such as ease of shattering, strong seed dormancy, ad often a pigmented aleuronic layer. They refer to the unwanted plants of the genus Oryza that have undesirable agronomic traits and pose a significant threat to sustainable rice production worldwide. It is scientifically known as Oryza sativa f. spontanea, which has become one of the most common weeds infesting rice fields worldwide. Weedy rice is also referred to as ‘red rice’ because of its red pericarp. Weedy rice has spread vigorously in many rice-planting areas in China due to the adoption of direct-seeded rice and the reduced manpower involvement in rice cultivation. Besides, ‘Nigrescens’ is an ornamental form grown for its purplish colored leaves.

Brown rice, which is hulled directly from rough rice, consists of bran layers (six to seven percent), an embryo (two to three percent), and an endosperm (about ninety percent). White rice is brown rice that has its bran and germ removed to make it easier and faster to cook, give it longer shelf life, and most importantly, give it a better sensory quality.

Golden rice (Oryza sativa, GR) is the generic name given to genetically modified rice that produces b-carotene (provitamin A) in the endosperm. This name is derived from the yellow color of the grain that is visible after milling and polishing, which is routinely employed to remove the outer grain layers.

Pests and diseases & Postharvest control and technology

Pest management is critical to sustainably achieving rice production. Pests like brown planthoppers (Nilaparvata lugens), white-backed planthopper (Sogatella furcifera), rice stem borer (Sciropophaga spp.), rice hipsa (Dicladispa armigera), green leafhopper (Nephotettix spp.), rice gall midge (Orseolia oryzae), and rice leaf folder (Cnaphalocrocis medinalis) are common insect pests or rice. Mole cricket, rice bug, and rice mealybugs are commonly found in rice paddy fields. Furthermore, it is found that sometimes rodents also attack aman rice during the harvesting period, substantially reducing the yield.

Several diseases can be detected, such as rice tungro disease, bacterial leaf blight, sheath blight, rice leaf blast, false smut (by Ustilaginoidea virens), and stem rot major diseases. In addition, weed infestation is high in aus rice.

Stored rice is often attacked by rice weevil (Sitophilus oryzae), in which adult rice weevils can fly and live for up to two years. The female uses strong mandibles to chew a hole into a grain kernel, after which the female rice weevil deposits a single egg within the hole, sealing it with secretions from her ovipositor. A female weevil can lay two to six eggs per day and up to three hundred over their lifetime. The larva develops within the grain, hollowing it out while feeding. It creates within the grain kernel and emerges two to four days after eclosion. Rice weevil can be controlled, and the development can be killed by storing the rice below negative eighteen degree Celsius for three days or heating to sixty degree Celsius for fifteen minutes.

Conditions during grain ripening and drying in the field affect the processing characteristics of the rice grain. Flowering affects the percentage of immatures in the harvested crop, with photosensitive rice having more synchronous anthesis than non-sensitive varieties. However, among non-sensitive rice, early-maturing (90-110 days) rice tended to have more immature grains than medium-maturing rice (130-140 days). Immature grains reduce milling quality.

Nutritional facts

Rice contains eighty percent of carbohydrates, seven to eight percent of proteins, three percent of fat, three percent of fiber, and rice grain includes five percent of bran, of which twelve to eighteen percent is oil.

Rice protein component is generally regarded as hypoallergenic that is solubility-based, and several studies have highlighted the nutritional and health benefits associated with the consumption of rice proteins. Its total food protein production per hectare is second only to wheat, although the yield of utilizable protein is higher for rice than for wheat due to the superior quality.

Several rice proteins, such as albumin, which is water-soluble, globulin, salt-soluble, glutelin, alkali or acid-soluble, and prolamin, which is alcohol soluble, are alcohol-soluble the main rice protein fractions. In recent years, rice protein-enriched ingredients have become commercially available. Apart from that, rice starch is reported as unique, with a bland taste, creamy, spreadable, and smooth in texture. Starch occurs naturally as discrete particles, called granules.


Rice is used widely in Asian and Indian cuisines as it is a staple food in any kitchen. Rice is cooked by boiling or steaming then absorbs water during cooking. With the absorption method, the rice may be cooked in a volume of water equal to the volume of dry rice plus any evaporation losses. Through the rapid-boil method, rice may be cooked in a large quantity of water, drained before serving. The rice gave a limitless number of recipes due to the presence of different rice types with different lengths, textures, and colours.

There are three categories on the grain length: short-, medium- and long-grain. Each grain rice type has distinct traits and works best in a specific dish. For instance, short-grain rice like arborio rice, bomba rice (Valencia rice), and sushi rice is similar in length and width and has a sticky texture when cooked. Arborio rice retains more starch than other rice types, creating creamy and yummy risotto. Furthermore, medium-grain rice is about twice as long as wide and becomes moist and tender when cooked. An example of medium grain rice is arborio rice. Next, long-grain rice, like jasmine rice, basmati rice, and brown rice, is three to four times wide and has a drier, fluffy texture when cooked.

When cooking rice dishes, the desired texture of the rice is the key to think about. Sticky rice, also known as sweet rice, is grown mainly in Southeast and East Asia. Sticky rice (Oryza sativa glutinosa) is used in many traditional Asian dishes and is often used to make desserts and sweets. When cooked, sticky rice becomes very sticky, and it is usually ground into rice flour. Parboiled rice, commonly referred to as easy-cook rice, is the ‘rough’ rice that has been partially boiled via a steam-pressure process in the husk before milling that gelatinizes the starch in the grain. This process produces a more separate grain that is light and fluffy when cooked. Converted rice is a type of parboiled rice that has been further pre-cooked, ultimately allowing you to whip up rice dishes even faster.

Color rice is much more nutritious due to the high concentration of phytochemicals. Black rice or purple rice (or forbidden rice) is named for its raw appearance. It has high anthocyanin content and turns dark purple once it is cooked. It is a good source of antioxidants, iron, and vitamin E that have a soft texture, making it ideal for dishes such as porridge, pudding, and baked goods. Red cargo rice, called Himalayan or Bhutanese rice, is mainly grown and consumed in Central Asia. It has high antioxidants, including fiber, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B. In addition, brown rice has a denser texture and higher nutritional value that contains fiber, magnesium, vitamins B, and iron than other rice.

Apart from that, wild rice is a grass native to North America, and China is not exactly a type of rice. It is much more challenging to cultivate and harvest than true rice. However, it is a good source of protein, vitamin B, and lysine. Lysine is an amino acid used in the biosynthesis of proteins.

Downstream products

Rice processing involves cleaning, hulling, and post hulling processing such as whitening, polishing, and grading. Rice processing produces several materials streams like husk, milled rice, and bran. It was reported that milling of paddy yields seventy percent of rice, which is endosperm as the significant product and by-products consisting of twenty percent husk, eight percent bran, and two percent of germ.

Other downstream products like the process canned rice, infant foods, convenience rice food, expanded rice products such as popped and puffed rice, dry breakfast cereals and snack food, extrusion-cooked products, rice dishes and puddings, rice bread, and rice cakes. Commonly it is used as rice flour and starch, which can be further processed into rice noodles. Moreover, rice can be fermented into fermented rice products and rice wines and beer adjuncts.

Other uses

Rice straw

After the rice is harvested, rice straw is fibrous, and lignocellulosic biomass remains in the field. The rice straw is collected and baled once its moisture content is below twenty-five percent. This dry biomass can be used for biofuel or bioethanol production. Besides, it is commonly tilled back into the soil and used as fertilizer for the crops.

The rice bran

Rice bran is a by-product of the rice milling industry and constituents around ten percent of the total weight of rough rice. It is obtained from the outer layer of the brown or husked rice kernel during milling. It is primarily composed of aleurone, pericarp, subaleurone layer and germ. It is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, dietary fiber, and other sterols. It has several active phytochemicals such as oryzanols, phytosterols, tocotrienols, squalene, polycosanols, phytic acid, ferulic acid, and inositol hexaphosphate.

Ninety percent of rice bran produced worldwide is utilized cheaply as a feedstock for cattle and poultry every year, and the remainder is used to extract rice bran oil. It has a concise shelf life due to high-fat content and potent enzyme lipase, which degrades the oil, making them rancid and inedible. Therefore, rice brans need to stabilize by inactivating the enzyme lipase for possible applications in food industries. Supplementation of rice bran has been successfully implemented in various foods such as bread, cakes, noodles, pasta, and ice creams without significantly affecting the functional and textural properties.

The rice husks

The rice plant absorbs silica from the soil and assimilates it into its structure during the rice husk or rice hull growth. Rice husk is the outer covering of the grain of the rice plant with a high concentration of silica that is more than eighty to eighty-five percent. Rice husk is produced in millions of tons per year as the waste material in agricultural and industrial processes.

Rice husk is a source of fiber that is considered a filler ingredient in cheap pet foods. Rice husk can be converted into fertilizer within four months through vermicomposting technique. In addition, rice husk can be used as an industrial fuel in which one tonne of rice husk can produce one-million-watt hour electricity. It can be used as a cleaning and polishing agent in metal and machine industries. It can also be used as a raw material to prepare activated carbon.

Moreover, rice husk can be processed into rice husk ash after incineration. The non-crystalline silica and high specific surface area of the rice husk ash made it suitable for concrete, cement, construction industries, and brick making. Rice husk ash has low thermal conductivity, high melting point, low bulk density, and high porosity suitable to produce high-quality steel.

Transgenic rice & Genetic engineering

Rice improvement has achieved remarkable success in the past half-century, with the yield doubled in most parts of the world and even tripled in certain regions, which has contributed significantly to food security globally. Rice breeding has achieved remarkable success in the past half-century due to two breakthroughs: increasing harvest index and yield potential by reducing plant height, using semidwarf varieties since the 1960s, and second yield leap through developing and applying rice hybrids since the 1970s.

Rice transformation achieved substantial success in the late 1980s. Three independent groups reported on regenerated transgenic rice plants using rice protoplast as the recipient via electroporation-mediated or PEG-mediated methods in 1988. Rice transformation via particle bombardment succeeded in 1991, which later became one of the most common methods of rice transformation.

Conventional, mutational, and molecular breeding approaches have enormously enhanced rice productivity in the last few decades. CRISPR gene editing is a genetic engineering technique in molecular biology by which the genomes of the rice may be modified. Rice is used as a model cereal genome with a relatively small genome size. In rice, yield is mainly determined by three major components: number of panicles per plant, number of grains per panicle, and grain weight. Rice yield has been improved by knocking out genes including GS3, DEP1, GS5, GW2, Gn1a, and TGW6, negative regulators of grain size and number and weight.

Genetic engineering was the only way to produce golden rice because there is no rice germplasm capable of synthesizing carotenoids in the endosperm available. Furthermore, transgenic Bt rice consists of Bt toxin genes derived from Bacillus thuringiesis (Bt). This Bt gene is one of the most broadly used insecticidal genes globally. In addition, there is also transgenic drought, -disease-resistant, high yield, salt-, herbicide-tolerant, and nutrient-use efficient (such as phosphorus-use efficiency) rice.


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