beet (Beta vulgaris L.), a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, is a
plant whose root contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown
commercially for sugar.
sugar beet is directly related to the beetroot, chard and fodder beet,
all descended by cultivation from the sea beet.
beet is a hardy biennial plant that can be grown commercially in a wide
variety of temperate climates.
produces a large (1–2 kg) storage root whose dry mass is 15–20% sucrose
commercial beet production, the root is harvested after the first
growing season, when the root is at its maximum size.
most temperate climates, beets are planted in the spring and harvested
in the autumn.
Tropical sugarbeet requires good sunshine during its growth period.
Sugarbeet can be grown during October to March with a well distributed
rainfall of 300 – 350 mm across the growing period.
sugarbeet crop requires an optimum temperature range of 20 to 250C for
germination, 30 to 350C for growth and development and 25 to 350C for
processing starts by slicing the beets into thin chips. This process
increases the surface area of the beet to make it easier to extract the
extraction takes place in a diffuser where the beet is kept in contact
with hot water for about an hour.
Diffusion is the process by which the colour and flavour of tea comes
out of the tea leaves in a teapot but a typical diffuser weighs several
hundred tons when full of beet and extraction water.
sugar beet processing, the sliced beets are subjected to a thermal
treatment by hot water at 70–74°C.
This leads to alteration of the cell tissue and loss of pectin into the
juice, which consequently needs complicated purification.
beet industry has waxed and waned over the years but today Europe
produces 120 million tones of beet every year, used to make 16 million
tones of white sugar.
and Germany are still the main producers but sugar is produced from beet
in all European countries except Luxembourg.
90% of sugar consumed in Europe is locally grown.
Brazil, India and the EU are the biggest sugar producers. Brazil exports
by far the most sugar, although the EU, Thailand and Australia are also
major sugar exporters. In contrast, China, the USA and to a lesser
extent, India are net sugar importers.
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