GROWING TO QUALITY
Quality standards of the sugar beet crop are defined in relation to processing. This includes primarily a high sucrose concentration and low content of invert sugars (glucose and fructose), polysaccharides of microbial origin (including dextran), and of soluble non-sugars (α-amino nitrogen, sodium, potassium) in the processable sugar beet material. Quality also includes the maintenance of the quantity of processable material in a delivered sample. … Finally, resistance to cutting is a quality trait of importance in processing (Dutton & Huijbregts, 2006; Vukov, 1977).English, W. (2023), PhD Thesis
Sucrose content is king: it gets all the attention. But there are a lot of things that can get in the way of extracting sucrose from sugar beet roots. It is therefore useful to give two sub-definitions related to Quality:
- the non-sucrose-content parameters of quality
- the ease and purity of sucrose extraction
Here, now, when discussing Quality, we want to put the spotlight on the non-sucrose-content quality parameters and how they impact sucrose extraction.
OPPORTUNITIES WITH GROWING TO QUALITY
CHALLENGES WITH GROWING TO QUALITY
Quality is a tricky area, in that given its defintion, more or less every research project includes an analysis of quality, yet very few cover off the full range of quality parameters. If we focus on the non-sucrose-content parameters of quality, we could say that it is not an area that has had a lot visibility of late. This is likely a result of there not being major issues in this area. The recent retirement of Christa Hoffmann means it will likely get even less attention – that really was a loss.
There are a few signs that more attention should be paid, maybe subtley, to Quality. A more thorough review is needed (starting with the resume of Chirsta Hoffmann), but it is believed that the concentration of non-sucrose substances is on the slow rise, as too root softness (i.e. difficulty in slicing).
NBR AND GROWING TO QUALITY
NBRs strategy includes a focus area of Growing to Quality. That means research should be broader than just a focus on sucrose yield, but should include all the non-sucorse-content parameters. Further, work should be broader than screening of varieties, and should include ensuring agronomic practices are also promoting quality on all quality parameters.
Few of the current/ recent projects at NBR have been developed with a focus on the non-sucorse-content parameters.
ME AND GROWING TO QUALITY
I too have largely suffered from the quality as a by-product/ underlying assumption issue in my work.