The presence of colour in raw sugar plays a key role in the marketing strategy of the Australian raw sugar industry. Some sugars are relatively difficult to decolourise during refining and develop colour during storage. A new approach that might result in efficient and cost-effective colour removal during the sugar manufacturing process is the use of an advanced oxidation process (AOP), known as Fenton oxidation, that is, catalytic production of hydroxyl radicals from the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide using ferrous iron. As a first step towards developing this technology, this study determined the composition of colour precursors present in the juice of cane harvested by three different methods. The methods were harvesting cane after burning, harvesting the whole crop with half of the trash extracted and harvesting the whole crop with no trash extracted. The study also investigated the degradation at pH 3, 4 and 5 of a phenolic compound, caffeic acid (3,4–dihydroxycinnamic acid), which is present in sugar cane juice, using both hydrogen peroxide and Fenton’s reagent. The results show that juice expressed from whole crop cane has significantly higher colour than juices expressed from burnt cane. However, the concentrations of phenolic acids were lower in the juices expressed from whole crop cane. The main phenolic acids present in these juices were p-coumaric, vanillic, 2,3–dihydroxybenzoic, gallic and 3,4–dihydroxybenzoic acids. The degradation of caffeic acid significantly improved using Fenton’s reagent in comparison to hydrogen peroxide alone. The Fenton oxidation was optimum at pH 5 when up to ~86 % of caffeic acid degraded within 5 min
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