Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Designing, Producing and Processing “Ultimate” Varieties of Sugarcane.

Richard, C., Mckee, M. Triche, R.D. and Godshall, M.A.

Sugar Processing Research Institute, Inc., 1100 Robert E. Lee Blvd., New Orleans, Louisiana 70124, Email: ma.godshall@ars.usda.gov

Many sugar industries, beet and cane, would predict that in the future they will produce a wide range of products which could include sugar. To realize this prediction, new varieties must be designed, production practices improved and alternative processing techniques developed. Sugarcane breeding and selection has moved far beyond the "old days" of crossing the best parents and hoping to select the best segregate as a potential new variety. Modern breeding procedures and biotechnology offer greater efficiency. Typically, varieties are selected on the basis of high yield of sugar and characteristics important to agronomic production and pest resistance in each growing region. It is anticipated that the “ultimate” variety of the future will involve much more analysis than the typically measured juice quality characteristics of brix and pol which along with tonnage, stubbling ability and fiber content, can predict yield of sugar per unit area. Once produced, high yielding varieties for various products need to be grown in a sustainable manner that provides maximum production with minimal environmental and economic impact. Processing of these varieties will need to accommodate the specific product being produced whether sugar, energy or some other product. To demonstrate the importance of quality characteristics of future varieties, Sugar Processing Research Institute has investigated the presence of components that could either enhance or inhibit production of various products from sugarcane. Significant variability among and within species of sugarcane and related genera have been found for starch, polysaccharides, ash, cations, anions, organic acids and other parameters. This presentation includes this data and the potential importance of these parameters in future varieties, its importance in a sustainable production system and its importance in processing needs.

Abstract for an oral presentation at the ISSCT XXVII Congress in Veracruz, Mexico, March 7-11, 2010