One thing that was sorely missed during the storage period of 2023, when many thousands of tonnes of sugar beet were being rejected for delivery based on their colour, was more objective measurement of the key quality parameters of interest. Chiefly, dextran. Dextran is a group of heavy molecules that, in high quantities, blocks the filtration system at the factory. It is produced by microbioal activity, and thus is only found in roots that are suffering from some form of rot, usually after a freeze-thaw event (thus, 2023). But we don’t have a good way of detecting it in the field. There are also other molassogenic substances we would love to be able to identify, either as direct or proxy measures of poor quality. Glucose, pectin, and mannitol are some of the substances we will look at. Sugar content too.

The project timeline is 2024-25