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Ever since we bought a rice steamer on a whim and finally realised neither of our rice cooks had the rice we needed, rice hulls have been a part of our lives.Rice hulls are the coatings of seeds, or grains, of rice. The husk protects the seed during the growing season and is formed from hard materials, including opaline silica and lignin. The hull is hard to eat or swallow and mostly indigestible to humans because of its enriched fibre components. However, during times of food scarcity in ancient China, a common daily meal was a pastry made from rice husks, wild vegetables, and soybean powder. This led to the idiom "meals of cereal, hulls, and vegetables for half a year," indicating poverty and food insecurity.Rice hulls (or rice husks) are the hard protecting coverings of grains of rice. In addition to protecting rice during the growing season, rice hulls can be put to use as building material, fertilizer, insulation material, or fuel. Rice hulls are part of the chaff of the rice.
Unfortunately the direct combustion of rice hulls produces large quantities of smoke. An alternative is gasification. Rice hulls are easily gasified in top-lit updraft gasifiers. The combustion of this rice hull gas produces a blue flame, and rice hull biochar makes a good soil amendment.Das, Shaswat Kumar; Mishra, Jyotirmoy; Singh, Saurabh Kumar; Mustakim, Syed Mohammed; Patel, Alok; Das, Sitansu Kumar; Behera, Umakanta (29 March 2020). "Characterization and utilization of rice husk ash (RHA) in fly ash – Blast furnace slag based geopolymer concrete for sustainable future". Materials Today: Proceedings. doi:10.1016/j.matpr.202Ma, Jian Feng; Kazunori Tamai; Naoki Yamaji; Namiki Mitani; Saeko Konishi; Maki Katsuhara; Masaji Ishiguro; Yoshiko Murata; Masahiro Yano (2006). "A silicon transporter in rice". Nature. 440 (7084): 688–691. Bibcode:2006Natur.440..688M. doi:10.1038/nature04590. PMID 16572174. S2CID 4330847.
Rice originates from Asia where it is known to have been growing since 6500 BC. It was then brought to all tropical regions within centuries. Rice grows from 53°N in China to 35°S in Australia. The optimal growing conditions are: 20-30°C average day-temperature with night temperature over 15°C; fertile, heavy soils, 6.5-7 pH. Most varieties ("swamp rice", "lowland rice") must be planted in stagnant water and require 200 mm rainfall/month or equivalent amount from irrigation, whereas others ("mountain rice" or "upland rice") require less irrigation and 750 mm rainfall on a 3-4 months period and no dessication. (Source: www.feedipedia.org)