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Facts on Triticale

Triticale (X Triticosecale) is an artificial hybrid of rye and wheat first bred in laboratories during the late 19th century, but only recently developed into a viable crop. Depending on the variety, triticale can resemble either parent or have characteristics of both. Today, it is cultivated mostly for forage and animal feed but some triticale foods can be purchased at health food stores or in some breakfast cereals.

The grain of wheat, rye and triticale. Triticale grains are significantly larger than wheat.The word itself is a fusion of the Latin words triticum ("wheat") and secale ("rye"). When crossing wheat and rye, wheat is used as the female parent and rye as the male. Because the resulting hybrids are sterile, they have to be treated with the alkaloid colchicine to make them fertile.

Commercially available triticale is almost always a second-generation hybrid, i.e. a crossing between two kinds of triticale.

Triticale was originally bred in Scotland and Sweden in the late 19th century, but only recently have viable crops been developed. Triticale mixes the high yield and good properties for baking of wheat with the resistance to harsh climate and the low requirements for soil quality of rye.

The primary producers of triticale are Germany, France, Poland, Australia, Portugal, the U.S., the Commonwealth of Independent States, and Brazil. In 2004, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, 13.7 million tons of triticale were harvested. However, triticale as a crop is still relatively unknown by the general populace.

Fictional triticales
The popular Star Trek episode, The Trouble with Tribbles revolved around the protection of a grain developed from triticale, quadrotriticale. A later episode of Star Trek: The Animated Series dealt with quintotriticale. Both grains exist only in the Star Trek universe. The science fiction-themed video game Metroid Prime mentions deca-triticale, probably as an homage to Star Trek.


  Copyright © 2006 Andy's Market. This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Triticale".

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