The entire process of producing refined white sugar, from either sugarcane or sugarbeet, is directed toward the removal of extraneous components that adversely affect the final quality of white sugar. Many of these components, while considered extraneous because it is desirable that they be removed, actually are quite normal constituents of the cane or beet plant, examples being soluble cell wall polysaccharides, starch, and other smaller metabolites. Additionally, reactions occur during processing as a result of pH changes, thermal effects and autocatalytic effects, which lead to the formation of polymeric colorant. In recent years, innovations in membrane technology and pre-treatment (such as centrifugation) have taken place, and some emphasis will be placed on how these processes affect polysaccharide and colorant concentrations. Ideally, the final refined white sugar product would contain nothing more than pure sucrose, which, in reality, of course, is not possible. Very small quantities (in the mg/kg range) of polysaccharides, colorant, ash, volatiles and organic molecules such as lactic acid, HMF, pyrrolidone carboxylic acid and oleanolic acid may remain. Nevertheless, white refined sugar is one of the purest foodstuffs available. This presentation will first provide an overview of the general effects of polysaccharides and colorants on the quality of white sugar. This will be followed by an update on recent research at SPRI (Sugar Processing Research Institute, Inc.) on cane polysaccharides and cane and beet colorants along with recent findings on the role of oleanolic acid in floc formation in beet sugars. Mary An GODSHALL, Sugar Processing Research Institute, Inc. New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

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Auteur : Mary An GODSHALL