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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Concept, Design, and Construction of a Sugarbeet Harvester with Integrated Single Beet Sucrose Analysis

item McGrath, J Mitchell
item Duckert, Timothy

Submitted to: Annual Beet Sugar Development Foundation Research Report
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: September 5, 2002
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: Molecular biology is allowing us to better understand the genetic, biochemical, and physiological processes that operate within plant cells and tissues, and with this increased understanding better decisions can be made regarding the improvement of agronomic traits. Generally, molecular biology works best at the single plant level, which creates a problem in transferring this knowledge to a field crop such as sugar beet where most analyses are done on a plot basis and data are collected from numerous plants at once. We are fabricating a one-row sugar beet harvester to weigh and determine sucrose concentration for each beet harvested. Our plan is use this capability to evaluate sucrose concentration under varying field conditions and over time. The harvester should also give us the real time data needed to make selection decisions while harvesting both large and small sized plots, as well as the opportunity to screen large amounts of germplasm for the essential trait of sucrose accumulation. A list of goals for this machine, ideally, would be a harvester that: (i) is capable of weighing each beet and determining concentration of sucrose and major impurities, (ii) is easily transportable between distant locations, (iii) is modular and adaptable to changes in research needs, (iv) allows for selections to be made with knowledge of specific real time data, (v) makes efficient use of operators time and energy, and (vi) incorporates modern technology into the lifting, cleaning and processing of the beet. Sucrose analysis technologies such as time domain reflectometry, refractometry, and near infra-red spectroscopy will be evaluated.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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