Submitted to: Sugar Journal
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/15/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Costly sugarcane deterioration is increasing in Louisiana because it is now being harvested into shorter pieces than long stalks. This work has introduced a very sensitive measurement of measuring cane deterioration, by monitoring the formation of short-chain sugars. Using this measurement it was shown that deterioration occurs earlier and faster in the shorter cane pieces than the long stalks. Furthermore, burning the cane in the field before harvesting into short pieces accelerated deterioration. This work will impact scientists, giving them a way to better confirm cane deterioration, and also sugarcane farmers and factory processors by letting them know how to better harvest, handle and store cane, in order to reduce deterioration.
Technical Abstract: The recent increase of billeted cane being combine harvested in Louisiana has often meant an increase in deteriorated cane being processed. There is a real need to establish new and more sensitive criteria to measure deterioration in Louisiana harvested cane to better predict cane quality and the effect of harvest methods and storage conditions. In this study, there were eight cane supply treatments, with samples taken on each day fo four consecutive days (0, 24, 48 and 72h) before laboratory milling and analyses. Treatments included three that were handcut whole-stalk cane that was either hand stripped of leaves (control), was left unstripped (green), or was burnt. Three treatments were soldier harvested cane that was either burnt or green, or burnt and stored to simulate cane from a heap or transloader stack each day. Two other treatments were burnt and green billeted cane from the combine harvester were also taken, to simulate cane from a billet wagon each day. Cane quality changes on deterioration were described in Part I1 of this paper, and included changes in TRS, color, invert, dextran, pH, and titratable acidity. Part II of this paper describes oligosaccharide formation in cane, with emphasis on both kestoses (up to GF5), and those formed as products from dextran formation by dextransucrase from Leuconostoc mesenteroides. In the fresh (0h) samples, for all eight harvest treatments, there were no marked differences in oligosaccharide profiles, indicating that when the field cane is cut, freshness is more important than harvest method. Oligosaccharide formation was greater and more rapid in billeted than whole-stalk cane, and concomitant with a decrease in pH and an increase in dextran. Deterioration occurred earlier in billeted than whole-stalk cane, and was