Molasses and beet pulp are by-products of the sugar industry. Every tonne of processed cane or beet will lead to production of molasses, the by-product from which no additional sugar can be obtained by furthercrystallisation. Molasses still contains substantial amount of sugar. It isalso characterised by the richness in chemical elements which can be exploitedfor a variety of purposes. Beet pulp remaining after the extraction of sugarfrom beet is a good source of highly digestible fibre and energy used foranimal feeding. Molasses and beet pulp are mostly used domestically but about7% of world output of molasses and 15% of global beet pulp production areexported to the world market.
Froma technological point of view, molasses is the runoff syrup from the final stage of crystallisation, from which no additional sugar can be obtained byfurther crystallisation. The syrup after the first crystallisation is normallyreferred as A molasses. If the process of evaporation and centrifuging isrepeated in order to recover more sugar, the resulting syrup residues are thenreferred as B molasses. In general, 100 tonnes of sugar cane will yield 10-11tonnes of sugar and 3-4 tonnes of molasses. Meanwhile 100 tonnes of sugar beetwill give 11-12 tonnes of sugar and 4-6 tonnes of molasses.
Molasses consists of water, sugar, glucose and fructose (i.e. reducing sugars or fermentable carbohydrates), non-sugar substances from cane and beet not precipitated during juice purification, and substances formed enzymatically or chemically during the storage and handling stages. Because molasses is an agricultural product, it is hardly possible to establish its exact composition.Climatic factors, soil structure, and processing conditions in the cane mill or the beet factory all influence the final quality. Molasses contains substances which may promote but, in some cases, also inhibit the growth of microorganisms.
The pulp that remains after sugar is extracted from beet has long been recognized as a valuable animal feed. Wet pulp consists of the exhausted cassettes and typically contains from 6% to 12% of dry substance. Pressed pulp can be dried alone or combined with molasses or vinasse. The proportion of dry substance is thus raised to 87–92%. Nutritionally, beet pulp pellets mixed with an amount of molasses have the roughage properties of chopped hay and the high energy characteristics of corn. This feature makes molasses beet pulp pellets a valuable feed for cattle feeders, dairies, and lamb feeding operations.