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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Sugarbeet Quality Improvement

Author
item Campbell, Larry

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2001
Publication Date: April 1, 2002

Interpretive Summary: More than one third of the sucrose (sugar) consumed by humans is obtained from sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.). Sucrose extraction begins with the production of a dark opaque juice from strips of sugarbeet. This juice is purified with lime and carbon dioxide, thickened by evaporation, and crystallized under a vacuum. Soluble non-sucrose constituents of sugarbeet, referred to collectively as impurities, impede sucrose crystallization in normal factory processes. Sucrose concentration and the ratio of sucrose to total soluble solids (sucrose plus impurities) determine processing quality of sugarbeet. Among the more important impurity components are sodium, potassium, and amino- nitrogen. Sucrose and impurity concentrations can be alter in breeding programs. However, a negative association between root yield and sucrose concentration and interactions among impurity components and between impurity components and yield or sucrose concentration have complicated breeding efforts. Also, almost any cultural practice may affect the quality of the crop. Nitrogen fertilizer management is a challenge wherever sugarbeet is grown. Producers' returns can be increased with proper nitrogen application but even moderate over- fertilization may result in a costly reduction in crop quality. Both producers and processors operate on small profit margins. In this economic environment, producing a high quality crop is a necessity.

Technical Abstract: More than one third of the sucrose (sugar) consumed by humans is obtained from sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris L.). Sucrose extraction begins with the production of a dark opaque juice from strips of sugarbeet. This juice is purified with lime and carbon dioxide, thickened by evaporation, and crystallized under a vacuum. Soluble non-sucrose constituents of sugarbeet, referred to collectively as impurities, impede sucrose crystallization in normal factory processes. Sucrose concentration and the ratio of sucrose to total soluble solids (sucrose plus impurities) determine processing quality of sugarbeet. Among the more important impurity components are sodium, potassium, and amino- nitrogen. Sucrose and impurity concentrations can be alter in breeding programs. However, a negative association between root yield and sucrose concentration and interactions among impurity components and between impurity components and yield or sucrose concentration have complicated breeding efforts. Also, almost any cultural practice may affect the quality of the crop. Nitrogen fertilizer management is a challenge wherever sugarbeet is grown. Producers' returns can be increased with proper nitrogen application but even moderate over- fertilization may result in a costly reduction in crop quality. Both producers and processors operate on small profit margins. In this economic environment, producing a high quality crop is a necessity.

Last Modified: 10/21/2014
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