Choosing the Right Analytical Method for Sugar Testing

The International Commission for Uniform Methods of Sugar Analysis (ICUMSA), along with other regulatory bodies, specifies a number of parameters that must be evaluated to establish the quality of sugars. This document describes a range of straightforward techniques that adhere to these guidelines and can be implemented throughout the production process.

Sugar has come a long way from the days of the early ‘white gold’ that was affordable only for the wealthy, and today it is an everyday foodstuff available to all consumers. This important compound, produced from either sugar beet or sugar cane, is a common ingredient of foods and beverages, and is even found in pharmaceuticals. Whether it is derived from beet or cane, sugar producers must comply with standards specified by industry and health organizations, most importantly, those defined by ICUMSA, which are regarded as the reference standard.

Sugar producers monitor a range of physical and chemical properties, including Brix, color, pH, moisture and weight, to ensure compliance with quality standards. These are determined throughout the production process by employing techniques such as titration, spectrophotometry and refractometry. This application guide outlines a selection of analytical methods that accurately monitor the quality of processed sugar, for straightforward implementation into your laboratory workflows. It discusses analytical protocols and the analysis of results, including:

  • Color determination
  • Brix values
  • Moisture determination
  • pH measurement
  • Weighing solutions
  • Karl Fischer water determination
  • Titrimetric alkalinity and hardness analysis