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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Research Project #436409

Research Project: Developing Technologies that Enable Growth and Profitability in the Commercial Conversion of Sugarcane, Sweet Sorghum, and Energy Beets into Sugar, Advanced Biofuels, and bioproducts-Bridging Project

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

2020 Annual Report

1. Development of a process to stop degradation of sugarcane during temporary storage. Microbial deterioration of sugarcane starts as soon as it is harvested. The cane is commonly stored post-harvest awaiting processing, but during this time significant sugar losses ensue due to microbial action. Therefore, ARS researchers in New Orleans, Louisiana, continued working with a private company in testing liquid sodium permanganate application to the sugarcane during storage. Effectiveness was compared to other currently used products (bleach, biocide). Sodium permanganate was found to be the most effective treatment, performing better than bleach at preventing sugar loss to microbial contamination. An industrial process for applying treatment was outlined and a preliminary economic analysis was performed. The estimated annual revenue increase for the average Louisiana sugarcane factory was found to be approximately $1.95 million USD. Expanded to the entire Louisiana sugar industry, this early treatment system could increase the annual revenue of the industry by a net of 1.64% or $44.4 million USD.

2. Development of an antioxidant ranking of super-foods for prescription nutrition. High antioxidant and fiber content, and the gluten-free nature of sorghum increased its domestic production for the consumer food industry as a super-food by over 250% in the past five years. Sweet varieties of sorghum produce colorful sweeteners rich in antioxidants. However, sorghum antioxidant is a complex mixture of highly cultivar-dependent chemical structures, and consistency and quality are concerns if the antioxidants are to be used for prescription nutrition. Therefore, ARS researchers in New Orleans, Louisiana, developed a standardized technique for identifying antioxidants in sorghum. The electrochemical technique was used to measure the amount of electrons transferred to and from antioxidants, and what changes took place in the antioxidant chemical structures. Results were used to rank the antioxidant capacity of different sorghum food products. Colorful sweet sorghum varieties contained classes of compounds offering the highest antioxidant capacity. The new electroactive technique is broadly adaptable and could be used to rank the antioxidant capacity of emerging super-foods beyond sorghum.

Review Publications
Yu, P., Huang, L., Li, Q., Lima, I.M., White Jr., P.M., Gu, M. 2020. Effects of mixed hardwood and sugarcane biochar as bark-based substrate substitutes on container plants production and nutrient leaching. Agronomy. 10(2):156.
Boone, S., Ihli, S., Hartsough, D., Hernandez, L., Sanders, J., Klasson, K.T., Lima, I.M. 2020. Application of permanganate to reduce microbial contamination and sugar loss in raw-sugar production in Louisiana, USA. International Sugar Journal. 122(1456):254-260.
Eggleston, G., Lima, I., Schudmak, C., Hullet, R., Waguespack, Jr., H., Birkett, H., Gay, J., Landry, A., Finger, A. 2019. First year operation of a mechanical detrasher system at a Louisiana sugarcane factory -- impact on processing and value-added products. International Sugar Journal. 121(1449):682-691.
Wright, M. 2019. Impact of storage on sugar loss in sorghum stalks. African Journal of Agricultural Research. 14(33):1629-1634.
Wright, M., Klasson, K.T., Kimura, K. 2020. Production of acetoin from sweet sorghum syrup and beet juice via fermentation. Sugar Tech. 22(2):354-359.
Qureshi, N., Lin, X., Liu, S., Saha, B.C., Mariano, A.P., Polaina, J., Ezeji, T.C., Friedl, A., Maddox, I.S., Klasson, K.T., Dien, B.S., Singh, V. 2020. Global view of biofuel butanol and economics of its production by fermentation from sweet sorghum bagasse, food waste, and yellow top presscake: Application of novel technologies. Fermentation. 6(2). Article 58.
Lima, I.M., Jimenez, A.M., Eggleston, G., Pabon, B., Sarir, E., Thompson, J. 2020. Scale up studies for the simultaneous removal of colorants and protein from a refinery sugar liquor using powdered activated carbon - a pilot plant study. International Sugar Journal. 122(1459):488-495.
Uchimiya, M., Knoll, J.E. 2019. Accumulation of carboxylate and aromatic fluorophores by a pest-resistant sweet sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L) Moench] genotype. ACS Omega. 4:20519-20529.
Uchimiya, M., Knoll, J.E. 2020. Electroactivity of polyphenols in sweet sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) cultivars. PLoS One. 15(7):e0234509.
Wang, Y., Wang, S., Wang, C., Zhang, Z., Zhang, J., Meng, M., Li, M., Uchimiya, M., Yuan, X. 2020. Simultaneous immobilization of soil Cd(II) and As(V) by Fe-modified biochar. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 17(3):827.