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Frontiers of Agricultural Science and Engineering

Front. Agr. Sci. Eng.    2019, Vol. 6 Issue (3) : 288-295     https://doi.org/10.15302/J-FASE-2019266
REVIEW
A brief history of wheat utilization in China
Minxia LU1, Liang CHEN2, Jinxiu WANG3,4, Ruiliang LIU5, Yang YANG2, Meng WEI3,6, Guanghui DONG1,4()
1. MOE Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems/College of Earth & Environmental Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China
2. State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid Areas/College of Agronomy, Northwest A&F University, Yangling 712100, China
3. State Key Laboratory of Systematic and Evolutionary Botany/Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
4. CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100101, China
5. School of Archaeology, University of Oxford, 36 Beaumount Street, Oxford, OX1 2PG, UK
6. University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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Abstract

Wheat is one of the most important crops in both China and the world, and its domestication can be traced back to ~10000 years ago. However, the history of its origin and utilization in China remains highly ambiguous. Drawing upon the most recent results of taxonomic, genetic, archeological and textual studies focused on the wheat in prehistory, this paper argues that wheat was not domesticated but introduced into China in the late fifth millennium BP. In the subsequent centuries, this exotic crop was quickly utilized as a staple food in northwest China. In contrast, it was not adopted as a staple in the Central Plains until the Han Dynasty (202 BCE–220 CE), which was mainly as a consequence of the living environment, population and innovations in food processing technology.

Keywords multidisciplinary evidence      prehistoric food globalization      wheat consumption      wheat domestication     
Corresponding Authors: Guanghui DONG   
Just Accepted Date: 15 May 2019   Online First Date: 25 June 2019    Issue Date: 26 July 2019
 Cite this article:   
Minxia LU,Liang CHEN,Jinxiu WANG, et al. A brief history of wheat utilization in China[J]. Front. Agr. Sci. Eng. , 2019, 6(3): 288-295.
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http://journal.hep.com.cn/fase/EN/10.15302/J-FASE-2019266
http://journal.hep.com.cn/fase/EN/Y2019/V6/I3/288
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Minxia LU
Liang CHEN
Jinxiu WANG
Ruiliang LIU
Yang YANG
Meng WEI
Guanghui DONG
Fig.1  (a) Distribution of wheat production in the current world (source from IFPRI[6]); (b) spatiotemporal distribution of pre-1000 BCE sites with unearthed wheat remains in Afro-Eurasia.
Fig.2  Distribution of the allied species of wheat (source from GBIF datasets[32])
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