Sugar Industry Technologists Sixty Third Annual Technical Conference
Vancouver, Canada, May 16-19, 2004
Direct Production of Refined Sugar and Value Added
Products from Sugar Cane Mills
Dr. Chung Chi Chou
Author/editor: “Cane Sugar Handbook and “Handbook of Sugar refining”
Dr. Chou Technologies, Inc., President
Robert J. Kwok
John H. Payne, Inc., President
The cane sugar industry has traditionally been designed to produce raw sugar which is further processed into refined sugar by energy intensive sugar refining processes. In many countries plantation white sugar is produced using sulphitation or carbonation processes. The beet industry on the other hand is designed to produce direct refined sugar. There have been numerous studies conducted on the nature of colorants, polysaccharide and inorganic profile of sugar process streams over the past 30 years. However, very few research priorities have been directed to develop a sugar process that will produce the same quality sugar at cane sugar factories as in sugar refineries. Significant energy can be saved if refined sugars can be produced directly from sugar mills.
Dr. Chou, who was the Managing Director of Sugar Processing Research Institute (SPRI) during 1999-2000, organized and directed a team of scientists and engineers to conduct a research project with specific objective to produce white sugar directly from sugar cane mills. With cooperation from Appelxion of France, the team succeeded in their effort and developed the SPRI–Applexion Technology (SAT) process to produce white sugar with color of less than 200 ICUMSA, using clarified juices from a cane sugar mill in Louisiana. Combining the SAT process (patented) with the new Cti process (Patent pending), refined sugar is produced directly from cane sugar mills. In addition value added antioxidant is recovered as a by-product from the Cti process.
The SAT Process (Patented)
The SAT process is an improvement of the New Applexion Process (NAP) in which clarified juice is ultra filtered through membrane. The SAT process uses two Food Drug Administration (FDA) approved processing aids in combination with the UF membrane filtration to remove non-sugar components, including those colorants and ash, which are preferentially occluded into the sugar crystals during crystallization.
The SAT process was developed to produce sparkling white sugar directly from cane sugar mills without sulphitation, carbonation, and floatation processes. Tests done at SPRI using bench scale boiling pan and at Audubon Sugar Institute using pilot scale pan have produced white sugar color of less than 200 ICUMSA with an input clarified juice of 11,000 ICU and 82 purity. In many sugar producing countries, where the juice quality is poor (below 80 purity), the SAT process will produce sugar between 400 to 750 ICU. In these cases the low color sugar is re-melted and further decolorized before sugar boiling to produce refined sugar. The UF membrane system has a pore size of 0.02 microns. Typical system is designed with permeate recovery between 85 to 90%. The retentate juice from the UF system can be returned to the juice clarifier or sent to an alcohol distillery if one is available at the plant. A flow diagram of the SAT process is shown in Figure below.
The Cti Process (Patent Pending)
The Cti process, a patent pending technology, consists of two special resin systems in series for production of various grades of refined sugar products depending on the feed materials to the process, and for recovery of value added antioxidants. The Cti process is much less capital intensive as compared to other conventional processes and is environmentally friendly with no dark brine waste disposal problem. In comparison the conventional decolorization processes have various disadvantages such as: powdered carbon process has filterability problem, granular carbon system is very capital intensive, and ion exchange resin system has brine disposal problem.
The Cti process flow diagram is shown in Figure 1.
The following various grades of refined sugar can be produced from the Cti process:
Antioxidants from Sugarcane
Recent research has demonstrated the relationship between the aging process and the damaging effects of free radicals on tissue cells, and the beneficial impact on blood plasma antioxidant capacity of the increased daily intake of antioxidant-rich foods. In recent publications (1, 2), the ORAC analysis was performed on a series of sugarcane products with the results ranging from some 5,000 (ORAC units/100g dried solids) to over 35,000, indicating strong antioxidant properties, comparable, if not superior, to those previously reported for the top-antioxidant-rich fruits.
USDA scientists have recommended a daily intake of 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units. The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) method, to quantify the antioxidant property, was developed by USDA research laboratories several years ago, and since has then been used to rank (ORAC units/100g) common foods. Prunes (5,770), raisins (2,830), and blueberries (2,400) top the list, trailed by such health food industry favorites as kale (1.770), spinach (1,260) and Brussels sprouts (980) (3).
Antioxidants in concentrated sugarcane extracts obtained from cane juice, using the Cti process was found to contain over one million ORAC units/100g dried solids (1, 2). Table below shows analysis of antioxidant for three extracts (2 from USA and 1 from China). Besides ORAC units, analysis was also performed on polyphenols and cathechin. The % of polyphenols is comparable to that of grape seeds extract.
ORAC unit on dried basis, other on samples as received basis at about 67 brix
In two Japanese studies published in 2001 and 2002 Sugar Technologists Technical Proceedings (4, 5), sugarcane extracts were found to have many other beneficial physiological functions as shown below:
Extraction of Antioxidants from Sugarcane Using Cti Process
The extraction process includes the following steps:
The yield of antioxidants range from 0.01% to 0.02% on the weight of cane depending on the color of feed material to the Cti process.
The use of adsorbent resin in studies of the nature of sugar colorants and for decolorization has been previously reported (6, 7)
Tests 1 to 4 show the results of extraction and decolorization experiments performed on sugar cane syrup.
Test 1. – Extraction of Antioxidant from Sugar Cane Syrup
Adsorbent: Vendor A
Feed: Louisiana Sugar Cane Syrup, pH 6.2, Brix 46.5, Color 8,400 ICU
* Normalized to 46.5 Brix
Test 2 – Extraction of Antioxidants from Sugar Cane Syrup
Adsorbent: Vendor B
Feed: Louisiana Sugar Cane Syrup, Brix 35-40, Color 8,100 ICU
** Normalized to 35 Brix
Test 3 – Decolorization Experiment
Adsorbent Resin: Vendor A
Feed: Affined Raw Sugar Liquor, Color 402 ICU, Brix 35-40
Adsorbent Resin: Vendor B
Test 4 – Decolorization Experiment
Adsorbent Resin: Vendor A
Feed: Affined Raw Sugar liquor, Color 310 ICU, Brix 35-40
Adsorbent Resin: Vendor B
The above test results indicate that the decolorization capacities of resins vary significantly depending on the suppliers. It is obvious that the higher the syrup feed color, the higher the recoverable antioxidants.
Antioxidant Products from Sugarcane Extract
The following are examples of the use of antioxidants in food formulation/application.
Based on USDA scientists a daily requirement of 4,000 ORAC is needed.
Concentrated sugarcane extract contains 12,000 ORAC/g
1 gram = 3 capsules (soft gels)
1 kilo of antioxidant extract will make 3,000 capsules of 4,000 ORAC. It has been estimated that the market price of the antioxidant from the sugar cane may be as high as US$ 60/Kg.
1 gram of concentrated antioxidant also contains about 250 mg of polyphenols
Each capsule would therefore contain about 80 mg of polyphenols. This is comparable to grape seed extract.
Add antioxidant into edible molasses to make 1,500 ORAC per table spoon (15 ml). One table spoon a day will meet about 40% of daily requirement.
1 Kg antioxidant to mix with 3,000 lbs of soft brown sugar. This will make a soft sugar fortified with 4,000 ORAC/lb of sugar.
The SAT and Cti processes have been shown to be attractive technologies for production of various refined sugar products and antioxidant directly from cane sugar mills. The use of these processes will significantly reduce energy consumption in refined sugar production and alleviate environmental problem. Recovery of value added antioxidant during the decolorization process is an added economic advantage.
last updated 10/22/2017