Sugarcane was discovered in India between the 6th and 4th centuries BC by Persians. Today, sugarcane is the world’s largest crop by production quantity.

For centuries, sugarcane has been cultivated to produce sugar. Then its cultivation was expanded to produce liquors, and with today’s technology, use of sugarcane is expanding into an extraordinarily diverse range of value-added products such as ethanol, bioelectricity and bioplastics.

To ensure quality and improve productivity, quality control tests are required for every stage of sugarcane liquor production: e.g. test pol and Brix for molasses; test pol, Brix, sucrose and reducing sugars for sugarcane juice; and test ethanol content for final liquor products.

Traditional analytical methods used in the sugarcane liquor industry are comparatively expensive, time-consuming, and usually require varied methods to be used for different parameters. On the other hand, near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy has considerable advantages such as:

  • Nondestructive testing: raw materials can be analyzed as-is, without changes or damage
  • Simultaneous measurements of multiple components
  • Speed: NIR provides real time analysis – generally less than 10 seconds’ measurement time; it also eliminates sample preparation time
  • Easy-to-use: with a calibrated instrument, the end user needs no special skill or spectroscopy knowledge to run the test
  • Cost Effectiveness: NIR eliminates the need for consumables such as solvents, columns, and reagents
  • Flexibility: portable NIR spectrometers can be used in the field as well as in the lab, and can measure multiple components per analysis
  • Approachability: Our NIR spectrometers are user-friendly, providing point-of-need analysis
  • Repeatability: NIR means the elimination of many sources of systemtic error, particularly during sample and test preparation

Applications of NIR in sugarcane liquor quality control include:

  • Molasses, a byproduct of sugarcane milling, can be measured in transflectance mode
  • Sugarcane juice can be analyzed in transmission at room temperature
  • Parameters such as Pol, Brix, dry matter, sucrose, and reducing sugars can be analyzed by FT-NIR simultaneously
  • Ethanol content of final liquor products can be accurately measured within seconds

Galaxy Scientific offers offline/inline/atline FT-NIR solutions for analysis of liquors. QuasIR™ 2000 can couple with transmission or diffuse reflectance probes for inline/offline/atline measurements. The QuasIR™ 4000 is equipped with both integrating sphere and sample compartment, which can be utilized for off-line solids and liquids measurements.