Submitted to: Sugar Processing Research Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 22, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Changes in sugarcane agriculture, including cultivars, chemical ripeners, cultural practices and harvesting systems, and new disease and insect pests, have seriously impacted the quality of cane and juice delivered to the mill for processing. These changing developments were found to affect the level of Brix, sucrose, purity, fiber, reducing sugars, polysaccharides, including starch and dextran, color, and inorganic ash of juice and or cane resulting in a loss of sugar and or decrease in the quantity and quality of sugar produced. Results of research have shown that serious problems do exist with these changes and have suggested strategies to reduce their impact on processing, sugar yield, and sugar quality. Total sugar production and quality are the ultimate measurements of yield with the grower generally receiving from 60-63% of the value of that sugar with the mill receiving the balance. An awareness of the changes in sugarcane agriculture that affect processing is very important to the competitiveness of the cane sugar industry. Further, their relationship to yield and quality of sugar must be thoroughly understood by both grower and processor to maximize yield and economic returns.
Technical Abstract: Extensive research shows that sugarcane quality directly affects sugar yield and quality. Sugarcane with superior sucrose and purity and low fiber and trash content generally mills and processes well producing a high yield of sucrose with few non- sucrose components. However, quality can be influenced by ever- changing developments in sugarcane agriculture including new cultivars, chemical ripeners, cultural practices and harvesting systems, and new disease and insect pests. These developments differentially affect the yield of sugar per unit area and cane and juice quality. Additional research has shown that these changing developments can have serious deleterious effects on the levels of Brix, sucrose, purity, fiber, reducing sugars, total polysaccharides including starch and dextran, phenolics, inorganic ash, proanthocyanidin, and other parameters of cane or juice. This paper will discuss how these developments in sugarcane agriculture affect processing.