Production of brown sugar (unrefined sugar) from sweet sorghum using appropriate technology

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Over the years the consumption of sugar has outstripped production due to increasing demand. Ghana imports over $80 million dollars worth of cane and beat sugar annually to meet its domestic needs as local production is non-existent. Sugarcane as the sole source for sugar production in the tropics is limited due to its being restricted to grown only in clay loamy wet soils, thereby necessitating the use of sweet sorghum as an alternative raw material for sugar production. The study involved producing sugar from sweet sorghum using the round-bottom open-pan technology. The work evaluated the clarification pH and evaporation duration (EvD) processes of 4 sweet sorghum varieties which affect yield, sweetness, colour, flavour, texture and overall acceptability. The optimum condition (clarification at pH 10 and EvD at 45 minutes) produced the best brown sugars, whose flavour, sweetness, colour and texture were found to be more acceptable, irrespective of the sweet sorghum variety used compared to brown sugars produced at pH 7 and 8. The study also revealed that sweet sorghum varieties MI8E and S35 had high juice content compared to Keller and Dale which recorded the maximum sucrose content of juice extract. Brown sugars produced from Dale and Keller were found to sweeter compared to that of Ml 8E and S35. Sweet sorghum therefore appears to be a good material source for brown sugar production and possibly other types of sugar. The results further indicated that the production of brown sugar from sweet sorghum on a small-scale could be adopted and used in rural areas, as practically it only involves the use of simple stoves, pans and lime for a successful sugar production enterprise.
A thesis submitted to the College of Science in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award for the degree of Master of Science, 2005