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ARS Home » Southeast Area » New Orleans, Louisiana » Southern Regional Research Center » Commodity Utilization Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334034

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

Location: Commodity Utilization Research

Title: Analytical evaluation of current starch methods used in the international sugar industry: Part I

item Cole, Marsha
item Eggleston, Gillian
item Triplett, Alexa

Submitted to: Food Chemistry
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/31/2017
Publication Date: 2/2/2017
Citation: Cole, M., Eggleston, G., Triplett, A. 2017. Analytical evaluation of current starch methods used in the international sugar industry: Part I. Food Chemistry. 228:226-235.

Interpretive Summary: Existing starch methods for the sugar industry are extensive but limited to measuring mostly soluble starch with little impact in solubilizing the granular (insoluble) starch content. The purpose of this study was to compare and analyze current starch methods using simulated sugars containing either corn (difficult to solubilize) or potato (easy to solubilize) starch. The recently developed USDA Research method, which is the only method available to completely solubilize insoluble starch quickly and with high precision and accuracy, was used as a reference tool. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report that comprehensively compares the advantages and disadvantages of the current starch methods from an analytical chemistry perspective. The information gained is instrumental to the development of an industrial method that can also completely and efficiently solubilize starch in multiple cane processing products and by-products.

Technical Abstract: Several analytical starch methods currently exist in the international sugar industry that are used to prevent or mitigate starch-related processing challenges as well as assess the quality of traded end-products. These methods use simple iodometric chemistry, mostly potato starch standards, and utilize similar starch solubilization strategies but had not been comprehensively compared. In this study, industrial starch methods were compared to the new USDA Starch Research method using simulated raw sugars. Type of starch standard, solubilization approach, iodometric reagents, and wavelength detection affected total starch determination in simulated raw sugars. Simulated sugars containing potato starch were more accurately detected by the industrial methods whereas those containing corn starch, a better model for sugarcane starch, were only accurately measured by the USDA Starch Research method. Use of a potato starch standard curve over-estimated starch concentrations. Among the variables studied, starch standard, solubilization approach, and wavelength detection affected the sensitivity, accuracy/precision, and limited the detection/quantification of the current industry starch methods the most.