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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: NONCHEMICAL PEST CONTROL AND ENHANCED SUGAR BEET GERMPLASM VIA TRADITIONAL AND MOLECULAR TECHNOLOGIES Title: Sugar Beet

Authors
item Biancardi, E -
item McGrath, J Mitchell
item Panella, Leonard
item Lewellen, Robert
item Stevanato, P -

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: August 16, 2010
Publication Date: October 26, 2010
Citation: Biancardi, E., Mcgrath, J.M., Panella, L.W., Lewellen, R.T., Stevanato, P. 2010. Sugar Beet. Chapter 6. In J. Bradshow (ed.) Tuber and root crops. Handbook of Plant Breeding, vol. 7. Springer Science + Business Media, LLC, New York, NY. 173-219.

Interpretive Summary: World sugar production is around 160 million metric tons yearly with the average person consuming about 50 pounds (23 kg) a year. Total utilization is increasing approximately 1.4% every year thanks to the improved standard of living in densely populated countries like China and India. About one-quarter of world production is extracted from sugar beets, and the remainder from sugar cane. The chemical composition of both sugars is the same – sucrose (more than 99.5% pure in white sugar) – despite the crops being very different in their requirements for cultivations. Sugar beets yield better in temperate climates, especially in areas such as France, Germany, northern USA, whereas sugar cane requires a tropical to subtropical environment (India, Australia, Cuba, Brazil, etc.). Sugar from sugar beet and sugar cane has competed in the market place since the earliest sugar beet factories produced sugar in the early 1800s. One advantage sugar cane processing enjoys, among other things, is that sugar cane factories can be energy sufficient due to the burning of the fibrous matter remaining after crushing the sugar cane stalks to remove the sugar, whereas the power for processing beets generally comes from fossil fuels. The cost of cane sugar is currently lower and the price differential for sugar extracted from sugar beets and from sugar cane follows the price of crude oil.

Technical Abstract: World sugar production is around 160 Mt yearly with a per capita consumption of about 23 kg. Total utilization is increasing approximately 1.4% annually thanks to the improved standard of living in densely populated countries like China and India. About one-quarter of world production is extracted from beets (Beta vulgaris L. ssp. vulgaris), and the remainder from cane (Saccharum officinarum L.). The chemical composition of both commercial sugars is sucrose (more than 99.5% in white crystalline sugar) despite the crops being very different in their climatic requirements and photosynthetic pathways. Beets yield better in temperate climates, especially in areas such as France, Germany, northern USA, whereas cane requires a tropical to subtropical environment (India, Australia, Cuba, Brazil, etc.). Sugar from beet and cane has competed in the market place since the earliest sugar beet factories produced sugar in the early 1800s. One advantage cane processing enjoys, among other things, is that cane factories can be energy sufficient due to the burning of bagasse (fibrous matter remaining after crushing the cane stalks), whereas the power for processing beets generally relies on fossil fuels. The cost of cane sugar is currently lower and the price differential for sugar extracted from beets and from cane follows the price of crude oil.

Last Modified: 12/22/2014