Millet is a collective name for small-fruited husk grain with 10–12 genera. They belong to the sweet grass family (Poaceae). The name millet, which was also used male in the past, comes from Old Germanic ( ahd. Hirsa next to hirsi and hirso ) and is derived from an Indo-European word for "satiety, nutrition, nourishment" (cf. the Roman goddess of agriculture and fertility Ceres ). Millet was already used to make unleavened flatbread 8000 years ago . Millet has been used for agriculture in China for at least 4000 years. Millet or real millet ( Panicum miliaceum ) used to be grown in Europe as a food.
All types of millet can be divided into two main groups according to the nature of the grains:
- Sorghum (Sorghum) with significantly larger grains and hence higher yields per hectare (14-17 t / ha).
- Millet millet (Paniceae, also called real millet or small millet ). These include most of the genera, e.g. B. Panicum, millet (Setaria), pearl millet (Pennisetum), finger millet (Eleusine) and teff (Eragrostis). The grains of these genera are quite small, the yields correspondingly low (approx. 7–9 dt / ha). The term "millet" is used predominantly in the English and French languages. In Africa one often speaks of Milo or Milocorn .
The cultivated and used millets include the following types :
- Job's Tears ( Coix lacryma-jobi L.)
also subfamily Panicoideae: Tribus Paniceae:
- Millet , brown millet ( Panicum miliaceum L.)
- Sowi millet (also sauwi, Panicum hirticaule J. Presl, syn.Panicum sonorum Beal). Gathered from the wild and cultivated for subsistence farming in southwestern North America to Mexico.
- Kutki millet ( Panicum sumatrense Roth)
- Switchgrass ( Panicum virgatum L.)
- Afezu, Merkba ( Panicum turgidum Forssk.), ( Panicum laetum Kunth), ( Panicum anabaptistum Steud.), African wild varieties which are also used as grain.
- Australian millet ( Panicum decompositum R.Br.), the wild variety used to be widely used by the Aborigines in Australia.
- Millet ( Setaria italica (L.) P.Beauv.)
- ( Setaria sphacelata (Schumach.) Stapf & CEHubb. Ex Moss), ( Setaria pumila (Poir.) Roem. & Schult.), ( Setaria verticillata (L.) P.Beauv.), ( Setaria finita Launert), ( Setaria parviflora (Poir.) M.Kerguelen), wild and rarely cultivated varieties that are used in Africa and India as fodder and in times of need.
- Pearl millet ( Pennisetum glaucum (L.) R.Br.)
- Codo millet ( Paspalum scrobiculatum L.), is a very drought-resistant grain that also grows on nutrient-poor soils. It is grown in India, but also in the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and West Africa.
- Japanese millet , sawah millet ( Echinochloa frumentacea Link), is grown and used as food in Egypt, India, Kashmir and Sikkim . In the United States, Africa, and Canada, it is largely used as feed for livestock and as bird feed.
- Japanese millet, also Japanese millet ( Echinochloa esculenta (A.Braun) H.Scholz), is grown on a small scale in Japan, China and Korea both as food and as animal feed, as forage also in Australia and the USA.
- Chicken millet ( Echinochloa crus-galli (L.) P.Beauv.), The wild ancestral form of Echinochloa esculenta . Gathered in the Neolithic, today a dreaded weed in rice (according to FAO third most important weed plant worldwide), not grown or cultivated.
- Burgu, Bourgou, Banti ( Echinochloa stagnina (Retz.) P.Beauv.). Formerly harvested as wild grain in the Niger Delta , not cultivated. Today only as fodder.
- Shama millet, chindumba ( Echinochloa colona (L.) Link), in India and East Africa, but is rarely used. The wild stem form of Echinochloa frumentacea .
- Antelope grass ( Echinochloa pyramidalis (Lam.) Hitchc. & Chase.), Rarely used wild grain in parts of Africa, is not cultivated.
- Fonio millet ; White Fonio ( Digitaria exilis (Kippist) Stapf), Black Fonio ( Digitaria iburua Stapf), staple food in some regions of West Africa with poor soils, such as East Senegal, West Burkina Faso, South Mali, South Niger, and Northeast Nigeria Cameroon.
- Raishan ( Digitaria compacta ), ( Digitaria cruciata ), only used in Northeast India.
- Blood-red foxglove ( Digitaria sanguinalis )
- ( Urochloa panicoides P.Beauv.), Found only in Gujarat , India.
- ( Urochloa mosambicensis (Hack.) Dandy), ( Urochloa trichopus (Hochst.) Stapf), ( Urochloa brizantha (Hochst. Ex A.Rich.) R.Webster) Syn .: Brachiaria brizantha (A.Rich.) Stapf, to be used as wild grain in parts of Africa, not cultivated.
- Finger millet ( Eleusine coracana (L.) Gaertn.)
Food and feed
Millet is a grain that is very rich in minerals. Millet contains fluorine , sulfur , phosphorus , magnesium , potassium and, compared to other grains, a particularly large amount of silicon ( silica ), iron and vitamin B6 . Flavonoids contained in millet can, however, like soybeans or cassava , hinder the absorption of iodine from food and thus promote the pathological enlargement of the thyroid gland ( goiter ). The millet ("golden millet") that has been peeled off is common in the trade. There is also the unpeeled millet, in which most of the minerals and trace elements adhering to the skin are preserved, as well as the dark-skinned brown millet . However, the hydrogen cyanide content may not be entirely harmless, especially in raw millet. Millet can be used to make gluten-free baked goods. In many areas of Africa and Asia , the different types of millet are staple food, but are increasingly being replaced by maize . Millet is used as food and in Eastern Europe as fodder, in Europe and North America it is also used as bird feed for ornamental birds.
Millet is also the basis of some traditional beers, for example Dolo in West Africa, Pombe in East Africa and Merisa in Sudan. In Ethiopia , the millet type teff (Eragrostis tef) is the most important food crop for humans. Millet is used industrially by some specialized breweries to produce gluten-free beer for people with gluten intolerance (celiac disease). In China a number of spirits are distilled from millet, which are called Baijiu , the best known Chinese millet brandy is Maotai .
In the USA, great hopes are being placed in switchgrass as a supplier of cellulosic ethanol . The sorghum is considered due to the large and carbohydrate-rich biomass as a promising energy crop for biogas production , particularly in dry locations.
The two oldest finds of millet in Germany (near Leipzig and Hadersleben district ) date from the time of linear ceramics ( early Neolithic 5500-4900 BC). In ancient times and the Middle Ages, the different types of millet were among the most widely grown grain. Excavations in central and northern Germany also show that millet was grown in the pre-Roman Iron Age ( Hallstatt and Latène Ages ) and the Roman period (1st – 3rd centuries AD). In the early modern period they were almost completely displaced in Europe by imports of potatoes and corn. In the Himalayan region, a low-alcohol beer is brewed from different types. In the Balkans, Turkey and Central Asia, people drink a low-alcohol drink called Boza , which is (originally) based on millet malt. Only millet was served to guests of the Hun King Attila . To strengthen health and strength, the Greek philosopher Pythagoras recommended millet.
According to the FAO, around 90 million tons of millet were produced worldwide in 2018 . Of this, 59.3 million t was sorghum and 31.0 million t was millet. The hectare yield with an average of 11.6 dt / ha (Millet: 9.2 dt / ha, sorghum: 14.0 dt / ha) is the lowest of all grain types. This is one of the reasons why the much higher-yielding maize is becoming increasingly popular in traditional millet-growing areas. However, millet has the great advantage over maize that the harvest almost never fails completely, even in very bad weather.
The millet produced was mainly processed into porridge and animal feed .
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