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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CHARACTERIZATION AND IMPROVEMENT OF SUGARCANE AND SUGARBEET PROCESS UNITS
2009 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Determine the physico-chemical properties from sugarcane varieties subjected to new harvesting practices. Examine the use of innovative compounds, including polyaluminium compounds, to improve clarification of sugarcane and sugarbeet juices.


1b.Approach (from AD-416)
Participate in sugarcane variety trash trials to characterize the physico-chemical quality and processing ability of different components of green sugarcane trash. Undertake industrial studies to find improvements in clarification processing problems.


3.Progress Report

Laboratory studies on Polyaluminium chloride (PAC) compounds have continued to refine the optimum dosage, point of addition, and most efficient process streams in both sugarcane and sugarbeet for usage. Research has continued to demonstrate that bench top results are difficult to simulate under factory conditions using traditional factory clarification schemes. Based on the data collected during the factory trials conducted as part of this research, PAC may be effective in the raw sugar factory for color removal in the clarifier, increasing pH in the clarifier, and increasing the impurity particle removal in the clarifier. This shows that PAC is an effective agent at increasing the effectiveness of the traditional clarification process used in the raw sugar factory. Data from the factories would indicate that PAC is more effective in juice produced from a green harvested cane supply than that of a burnt cane supply. A cost associated with color production or removal in the raw sugar factory is not well defined and requires more study in order to place a factual dollar value on it. At this point, it is felt that PAC could be profitable for use in the raw sugar factory for enhanced clarification and color removal, especially under difficult or emergency processing situations. Also the ability of PAC to increase pH in the clarifier may enable the raw factory to reduce the amount of lime used for pH adjustment.

During the processing of sugarcane, especially green harvested sugarcane, the starch found in the growing point region, green leaves, and stalk of the plant, is transferred to the juice. Starch in the sugar industry can lead to problems in both milling and refining of sugar. Tests have been conducted to improve and compare the SPRI Rapid Method for starch determination in raw sugar to other methods. This rapid method is inexpensive, easy to perform, and uses readily available equipment. Six samples can be analyzed in 20 minutes at a cost of approximately $0.10 to $0.15 per sample. The SPRI rapid method correlates well with the SPRI standard method. Several organizations have already adopted the SPRI rapid method into their routine for starch analysis, saving time and money compared to previous methods that were being used.

Sugarcane varieties were studied with various levels of extraneous matter for typical quality analysis including brix, sucrose, fiber, and total recoverable sugar (TRS), as well as, more detailed analyses for pH, brix, total polysaccharide, starch, and ash. Significant differences were obtained for most parameters among varieties and treatments. These results, especially for the physico-chemical parameters, could be used to evaluate efficiency in sugar production, as well as energy production, among sugarcane varieties.


Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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