ITIS 42236 2002-09-22
Wheat (Triticum spp.) is a worldwide cultivated grass from the Fertile Crescent region of the Near East. In 2007 world production of wheat was 607 million tons, making it the third most-produced cereal after maize (784 million tons) and rice (651 million tons). Wheat grain is a staple food used to make flour for leavened, flat and steamed breads; biscuits, cookies, cakes, breakfast cereal, pasta, juice, noodles, and couscous; and for fermentation to make beer, alcohol, vodka, or biofuel. Wheat is planted to a limited extent as a forage crop for livestock, and the straw can be used as fodder for livestock or as a construction material for roofing thatch.
Although wheat supplies much of the world's dietary protein and food supply, as many as one in every 100 to 200 people has Celiac disease, a condition which results from an immune system response to a protein found in wheat: gluten (based on figures for the United States).