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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Postharvest Degradation of Sugar Beet

Authors
item Fugate, Karen
item Campbell, Larry

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2005
Publication Date: May 1, 2009
Citation: Fugate, K.K., Campbell, L.G. 2009. Postharvest Deterioration of Sugar Beet. In: Harveson, R.M., Hanson, L.E., Hein, G.L., editors. Compendium of Beet Diseases and Pests. 2nd edition. St. Paul, MN: The American Phytopathological Society. p. 92-94.

Interpretive Summary: After harvest, most of the sugarbeet crop is stored in large exposed piles for up to 250 days awaiting processing. During this time respiration, rots, accumulation of compounds that interfere with sugar extraction, and physical deterioration decrease the amount of sugar processors are able to extract from the stored roots. Respiration is the largest source of loss and may account for up to 80% of the sugar lost during storage. Rots that occur during storage can be of considerable economic importance, although their incidence is erratic. The conversion of sugar to other compounds also contributes to sucrose loss. In addition to the direct loss of sugar by the formation of these impurities, these compounds interfere with sugar extraction, causing additional losses. All of these processes are related to environmental conditions, especially temperature and humidity, and the condition of the roots being placed in storage, including the incidence of disease at time of harvest and the extent of mechanical damage to the roots during harvest and piling. Losses incurred during storage represent a substantial revenue loss to the sugar industry. When multiplied over the large mass of roots processed and the length of time in storage, even small reductions can have significant economic impact. In many cases, close attention to details and relatively minor changes in procedure can reduce losses significantly with no, or small, increases in operating costs.

Technical Abstract: After harvest, most of the sugarbeet (Beta vulgaris) crop is stored in large exposed piles for up to 250 days awaiting processing. During this time respiration, rots, accumulation of nonsucrose carbohydrates that interfere with sucrose extraction, and physical deterioration decrease the amount of sucrose processors are able to extract from the stored roots. Respiration is the largest source of loss and may account for up to 80% of the sucrose lost during storage. Rots that occur during storage can be of considerable economic importance, although their incidence is erratic. The conversion of sugar to other nonsucrose carbohydrates also contributes to sucrose loss. In addition to the direct loss of sucrose by the formation of these impurities, these compounds interfere with sucrose extraction, causing additional losses. All of these processes are related to environmental conditions, especially temperature and humidity, and the condition of the roots being placed in storage, including the incidence of disease at time of harvest and the extent of mechanical damage to the roots during harvest and piling. Losses incurred during storage represent a substantial revenue loss to the sugar industry. When multiplied over the large mass of roots processed and the length of time in storage, even small reductions can have significant economic impact. In many cases, close attention to details and relatively minor changes in procedure can reduce losses significantly with no, or small, increases in operating costs.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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