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The Sugar Process

In the 19th century, sugar established itself as an important and widespread commodity in Europe. The product enabled households to preserve fruit and vegetables, extending their shelf life and preventing mould from forming. Furthermore, sugar stabilizes the vitamin C contained in the fruit and preserves the colour and aroma of the fruit. Today, sugar is a very versatile product and is available in a variety of dosage forms. 

Colloquially, the term “sugar” is used for different types of sucrose. Other common names are table sugar, granulated sugar, cane sugar or beet sugar. Sugar is obtained from plants, which contain a significant proportion of disaccharides. In tropical areas, sugar cane is of the greatest importance, in temperate climate zones, sugar beet is common. While sugar cane can be harvested after six to twelve months, sugar beet takes up to thirty weeks to ripen.

Manufacturing industrial sugar begins with cleaning and crushing the harvested plant. The resulting intermediate product is referred to as sugar beet or sugar cane pulp. Hot water is added to extract the sugar from the plant. This creates the so-called thin juice, which consists of 16 percent sucrose. In addition, various additives bind foreign substances that are undesirable in the final product. In the next step, a large negative pressure is generated. As a result, the water evaporates at temperatures below 80 degrees Celsius. Low temperatures prevent caramelization and allow white sugar to be produced without discoloration. The removal of water produces a thick juice with around 75 percent sugar content. The addition of seed crystals triggers crystallization. The resulting crystals continue to grow as the water is removed. Finally, centrifuges separate the syrup from the crystals.

Depending on the country of manufacture and the climate, different raw materials are used to produce sugar. The juice of the sugar cane is used to make cane sugar. beet sugar on the other hand, is made from the juice of the sugar beet. 

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