Sugar Industry Glossary

Following are some terms and acronyms regularly used in the Australian sugar industry.

ACFA:  Australian Cane Farmers Association

Ad valorem:  A term which means ‘in proportion to the estimated value of the goods taxed’,

Affination:  The first step in the refining of raw sugar which involves blending the raw sugar with hot concentrated syrup and spinning off the softened outer syrup layer of the raw sugar crystal in a centrifugal.

AMT:  Australian Molasses Trading Pty Limited

ASMC:  Australian Sugar Milling Council

ASSCT:  Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists

Assignment:  Assignment is an entitlement held by a cane grower which allows the holder to deliver to a mill for payment, cane grown on a number of hectares situated within the boundaries of a description of land assigned to the mill

Bagasse:  The final crushed sugar cane fibre remaining after milling

Brix:  A unit used to express the concentration of solids in aqueous sugar solutions.  For example, 60 degrees Brix sugar solution contains 60% by weight of sugar

BSES:  BSES Limited (Formerly the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations)

Sugar Cane:  Sugar cane belongs to the vast family of grasses which include other crops such as barley, wheat, rice and maize

Cane billets:  The common name for the chopped lengths of cane (approx 250-300mm) produced by mechanical cane harvesters during the harvesting operation

Cane invert:  A  liquid sugar product produced at a mill, containing a relatively high proportion mixture of glucose and fructose which is obtained by partial inversion of the sucrose extracted from the sugar cane.

Carbonatation:  The clarification process of removing colloidal impurities including some colouring matter by the addition of lime and carbon dioxide to form calcium carbonate which traps the other impurities.  This process is undertaken at a sugar refinery.

CCS (Commercial Cane Sugar):  CCS represents the sugar content of cane as it is purchased by sugar mills

Centrifugal:  A perforated basket which spins inside a casing to separate sugar crystals from molasses

CIF (cost, insurance, freight):  When sugar is sold on a CIF basis the vendor is responsible for arranging and paying for cargo loading, freight and insurance to the port of discharge.  Queensland raw sugar exports are sold on a CIF or C&F basis.

C&F (cost and freight):  ‘Cost and freight’ is the same as CIF except separate arrangements are made for insurance

Clarification:  The process of separating insoluble suspended matter and some soluble substances from cane juice, to produce a clear juice.

CRC:  Co-operative Research Centre for sustainable sugar production

Crystallisation:  The process of “growing” crystals by boiling them with syrup in a vessel (under vacuum)

Decolourisation:  The refinery process whereby the colour of filtered raw liquor is reduced by passing it over either bone char, granular carbon or ion exchange resin

Dilution indicator (DI):  A measure of the dilution by water of the impurities in the raw sugar.  If the sugar is too moist, bacterial action is likely to occur.  DI is calculated from the raw sugar analysis by using the formula:
EI=% water x 100% impurities.

Dunder:  Waste water which results from the production of ethanol by the fermentation of molasses

Enzymes:  Proteins formed in living cells or synthetically produced which act as catalysts in chemical changes

Ethanol:  Ethanol is the ethyl, or industrial, alcohol manufactured from fermented molasses.  It can be used as a fuel and in a number of products including perfume, toiletries, bricks, cleaning products and shoe polish.

Fibre:  Fibre is the cane plant’s vegetable skeleton in which juice is stored and through which plant food, dissolved in water, is distributed throughout the plant.  In the milling process, the fibre cells are ruptured, thus freeing the juice.  The fibre content of sugar cane varies according to variety.  The normal range is 10% to 16%.  A medium and consistent fibre content is desirable in commercial varieties.

Filter mud:  In clarifying cane juice, the insoluble matter extracted from the juice forms a mud which is removed from the clarifiers, filtered and washed to recover the sugar it contains.  Filter mud consists of 25% solids and 75% water.  The solids consist of mainly field soil, fibre, calcium phosphate, denatured protein and a small amount of sugar.

Filtrability:   A word used to describe the filtering quality of a raw sugar solution.

Filtration:  The refinery process whereby cloudy carbonated raw liquor is passed through a filter cloth to produce a clear liquor.

Final molasses:  The black syrup, commonly known as molasses or ‘C’ syrup, remaining after the sugar syrup has been boiled and passed through the centrifugal for the last time in a mill or refinery.   The sugar it contains cannot be removed economically.  A typical analysis of final molasses includes sucrose (34.1%, reducing sugars (16.5%), ash (11.3%), water (21.8%) and various sugars, gums and acids (16.3%).  The ash includes calcium, magnesium potassium, silicon, iron, phosphorous and other elements in the form of inorganic salts.

Fructose:  A sugar which occurs in fruit, the nectar of followers, honey and in cane juice and sugar products.  It is formed in equal quantity with glucose when sucrose is inverted.  In solution, it rotates polarised light to the left.  The transport of sugars in the cane plant, either into storage or for energy use by the plant, is in the form of fructose or glucose.  It has the chemical composition C2H9O6 .

Futures price:  The price of a particular futures contract.  Futures contracts are agreements to buy or sell a fixed amount of a commodity at a fixed price at a fixed date in the future.  For a futures contract to exist, one party has to agree to buy and take delivery while the other party has to agree to sell and supply the commodity.  This obligation may be discharged by a reverse paper transaction (with some other person in the market) and the futures market may be used to hedging or for speculative purposes.  On the London and New York raw sugar markets, futures prices are usually quoted up to about 18 months ahead.

Glucose:  A sugar which occurs naturally in grapes, hone, sweet fruits and in cane juice and sugar products.  It can also be made from wheat.  In the human body, sucrose is converted into glucose and fructose before being used to provide energy.  It has the chemical composition C6H7O6.

Grist:  Sugar grist refers to the proportions of varying sized crystals and is determined by sieving and then weighing the portions of crystals.

HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup:  This is the most  common name for starch-based fructose/glucose syrups.  Corn is the starch base of these syrups.  Other suitable but not as widely used starch sources include rice, wheat and tapioca.  In Europe HFCS is referred to as isoglucose.  HFCS is a direct and significant competitor with sugar particularly in USA, Canada, Japan and Korea.  HFCS is used almost exclusively in industrial applications, particularly in beverages.

Honey:  Honey is produced by bees from nectar which contains sugar.  The sugar is inverted in the honey sac of the bee and also during evaporation and storage in the honeycomb.  The content of sugars in honey are fructose 45%, glucose 34% and sucrose 3%.  The other ingredients are water and traces of acids and ash.

Inclusions:  Impurities held within sugar crystals, rather than those adhering to the surface.

Inversion:  The conversion of sucrose in syrup into a mixture of equal amounts of glucose and fructose.   The action is one of hydrolysis and may be carried out by the action of the enzyme invertase, or by heating with dilute acids.  The liquid product from this process is called invert sugar.

Invertase:  An enzyme which hydrolyses sucrose to glucose and fructose

IPS (International Pol Scale):  The international pol premium scale is a price adjustment scale, described in the Rules of the Sugar Association of London.  It defines incremental price premiums applied to sugar of 96 degrees polarisation.

Juice:  Cane juice consists of water with sugar and other substances dissolved in it and a proportion of insoluble particles suspended in it

LDP (London Daily Price):  This daily quotation represents a price at which buyers and sellers can trade bulk raw sugar for shipment CIF to the United Kingdom in the current and succeeding month.  The LDP is used as an indicator of the value of prompt deliverable raw sugar in he world sugar trade

Local Boards: A Local Board consists of five members – two grower representatives, two mill owner representatives and an independent Chairperson.  A Local Board is empowered to approve a variety of authorised transactions, mediate and/or settle local disputes and advise the Queensland Sugar Corporation concerning any matter relating to the local sugar industry

Magma:  The mixture produced when sugar crystals (usually the lowest purity sugar) is mixed with a liquid such as syrup, juice or water

Massecuite:   The mixture of crystals and molasses produced by crystallisation in a vacuum pan.  The term is French for ‘cooked mass’

Mill peaks:  The amount of sugar, expressed as raw sugar equivalent, manufactured by the mill owner from sugar cane harvested in any crushing season from lands assigned to the mill and delivered to the mill under the Sugar Industry Act 1991 for which the mill owner is entitled to be paid out from the proceeds of the sale of the No 1 Pool price.

Molasses:  See final molasses

Negotiating team:  A negotiating team comprises two mill owner nominees and two Mill Suppliers’ Committee nominees and is responsible for formulating a local area’s Award

New York No 11 Spot Price:  the price established at the end of a day’s trading on the New York raw sugar futures market (NYCSCE – New York Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange).  It is the price at which committee representatives estimate that willing buyers and sellers would trade bulk raw sugar for prompt shipment.  The price is determined on the basis of 96 degrees polarisation FOBS

Non Centrifugal sugars:  In some areas of the world sugar cane juice is merely evaporated to produce a crude raw sugar; the sugar crystals are not removed from the mother syrup in centrifugals.  The sugar is generally consumed where it is produced.  Some of these sugars are known as Jaggery, Gur, Piloncilo and Muscovado, Jaggery and Gur are made in India by evaporating cane juice in an open pan.  The juice is evaporated to almost dryness and is then cast in open moulds or loaves.  A large amount of sugar consumed in India is in this form.  Colour, purity, hardness and flavour vary greatly.

NYCSCE: New York Coffee, Sugar and Cocoa Exchange

Polarisation (pol):  An estimate of the sucrose content of sugar.  Sugar of 98 degrees pol would contain about 98% sucrose

Pools:  In Queensland, payment for raw sugar production is made on a pooling basis.  For payment purposes, two different pool prices are calculated.  The No 1 pool price is paid on all sugar produced within the peak of a mill and the No 2 pool price is paid for the remaining sugar produced from cane which has been grown on assigned land.  The price declared for each tonne of No 1 pool sugar is a relevant percentage more than the price for each tonne of No 2 pool sugar

Ratoon:  Cane which grows from the stools left in the ground after a crop has been harvested

Raw liquor:  In refineries the clarified sugar solution is known as raw liquor

Raw Sugar:  the sugar crystals separated from massecuite in a centrifugal in a raw sugar mill.  Australian raw sugar is usually in two grades,, either about 98.8% or 97.6% sucrose. Sucrose content is varied to satisfy the requirements of customers.  Australian raw sugar is commonly made up of 98.8% sucrose, 0.22% reducing sugars, 0.3% other organic matter, 0.3% ash and 0.31% water.  Australian refined sugar is made up of 99.93% sucrose, 0.01% reducing sugars, 0.01% other organic matter, 0.01% ash and 0.04% water.

Raw Sugar Equivalent:  A measure of the amount of raw sugar of normal quality that a sugar mill could be expected to make from a given amount of syrup

Raw value:  A term used internationally to express raw and refined sugar on a common basis (96 pol equivalent).  International sugar statistics are expressed in terms of metric tons raw value (mtrv)

Reducing sugars:  Reducing sugars are those which have the ability to chemically reduce (withdraw oxygen) certain other chemical compounds.  In milling and refining, reducing sugars (mainly glucose and fructose) are regarded as impurities

Saccharimeter and polarimeter:  Instruments used in sugar analysis to measure the amount of rotation of polarised light when passed through a sugar solution.  The amount of rotation provides an estimate of the amount of sucrose in the solution

Season:  The crushing season, which usually commences in June and ends in December

Sett:   A piece of cane stalk used as planting material

SRA: Sugar Research Australia

SRDC:  Sugar Research and Development Corporation

SRI:  Sugar Research Institute

Stool:  The cluster of cane stalks arising from the germination of sugar cane setts or the regrowth which comes from the stumps and roots of harvested cane

Sucrose:  (commonly referred to as sugar)  A carbohydrate having the chemical composition C12H22O11.  It comprises two simple sugars – glucose and fructose

Syrup:  A concentrated sugar solution produced by evaporation of water from sugar cane juice.  In refineries, syrup refers to the less pure solution which is spun off crystals in centrifugals

Tel quel:  Literally means ‘as it comes’.  It is the weight of sugar regardless of polarisation.  For example, 100 tonnes actual or tel quel of raw sugar will commonly equal about 106 tonnes raw value or basis 96 degrees polarisation.

Tonne (metric ton):  Equivalent to 1000kg or 2204.6lb

Tonnes Actual:  The actual (physical) tonnes of raw sugar, sometimes referred to in the international sugar trade as tonnes tel quel

Vacuum pan:  Cylindrical steel vessel in which a steam heated surface is used to boil sugar syrups under partial vacuum at relatively low temperatures.

World price:  The spot prices determined for raw sugar on the two main futures markets, London (LDP) and New York (NY spot price), are considered to be indicators of the world price.  The International Sugar Organisation spot price is calculated daily from these two prices.