Molasses is used as a feed for almost all animals on account of its beneficial properties and ingredients. It is also sweet and improves feed intake, while providing fast-release energy that is high in calories. Vinasse can be used as an additional source of protein in animal feed, as a binding agent or as an appetiser. Crude glycerol is also used as an energy source in animal feed. It is colourless and sweet tasting, which can improve feed intake.
Molasses is a thick (highly viscous), dark brown sugar syrup that is a by-product of the sugar manufacturing process using sugar cane and sugar beet. Alongside sugar, molasses also contains organic acids, betaine, vitamins and non-organic salts. The residual sugar in molasses is the component whose extraction is not considered economically viable.
Molasses is a natural product and its material structure cannot be altered after production, other than by means of dilution/standardisation through use of water.
As a natural product, molasses is subject to various factors that determine its quality:
The product quality may therefore vary each year. There are signs that sugar manufacturers are – generally speaking – becoming ever more efficient; they are increasing sugar yields from beets or sugar cane, and the residual sugar content in the molasses is consequently dropping.
Every year, approx. 10 million Mt of beet molasses (Europe and North America) and approx. 65 million Mt of cane molasses (South America, Asia, Africa and Australia) is generated worldwide.
Its viscosity is strongly temperature-dependent and varies from brand to brand. The product’s visual appearance can vary in colour, from brown to deep black. Additional to the types of molasses outlined elsewhere, further processing of molasses results in additional derivatives. These resemble molasses in physical appearance, for example in colour, texture and viscosity. However, their distinction lies in their ingredients and thus also in their usage.
The quality of sugar beet molasses can vary greatly depending on cultivation area, the fertilisers used, its progress during the growing period, the sugar manufacturer responsible for processing the sugar beets as well as the processing aids deployed. All imbue the molasses with different qualities. Added to which, sugar manufacturers are continually optimising their sugar production processes, leading to fluctuations – even within a single campaign – in the composition and texture of molasses generated as a by-product.
With regard to its usage, the following ingredients are principally considered quality criteria.
The sugar content of sugar beet molasses is expressed in terms of polarisation or total sugar; moisture content is listed as dry matter content or brix.
As an unstandardised food, variations may be found in the molasses quality guidelines listed below.
|Direct Polarisation||Direct Polarisation|
|Invert||Between 0 and 1.5 %|
|Brix||73 to 86 %|
|Ash||5 to 8 %|
|Crude protein||8 to 12 %|
There are two established trading standards:
* As a natural product, sugar beet is subject to various factors that determine its quality, such as climatic conditions during the growing season; the soil condition of the cultivation area; the deployment of fertilisers or pesticides as well as production circumstances and the use of processing aids. The product quality may therefore vary from year to year.
The term vinasse comes from the Latin word vinacaeus and originally referred to wine yeast. In Europe in the early 20th Century, vinasse became the standard term for concentrated and fermented sugar beet molasses. Like molasses, vinasse is also a dark brown, honey-like syrup, and is a by-product obtained from ethanol fermentation which uses molasses as a raw material.
Its qualities vary widely, depending on whether cane molasses, beet molasses, syrup, cane sugar juice or other sources of carbohydrate are used as raw material during the fermentation process. Other reasons that account for variations are the technical conditions of the individual plant and the amount of energy used to vaporise the process water produced during fermentation.
Vinasse is a by-product of fermentation operations that produce alcohol, yeast, citric acid, lactic acid or mono sodium glutamate. During the fermentation process, nearly all residual sugar is extracted from the raw materials. The proportion of the initial ingredients in the raw materials utilised for this purpose therefore fluctuates accordingly.
Vinasse qualities vary within the following range:
|Nitrogen N||1.9 to 6.4 %|
|Crude protein according to the|
Kjeldahl method (N x 6.25)
|12 to 33 %|
|Ash||4 to 21 %|
|Dry matter||45 to 72 %|
|Potassium||1 to 11 %|
Depending on its quality, vinasse is used as animal feed, as a pelleting aid, as binder and as an organic fertiliser.
* As a natural product, vinasse as a by-product of sugar beet production is subject to various factors that determine its quality, such as climatic conditions during the growing season; the soil condition of the cultivation area; the deployment of fertilisers or pesticides as well as production circumstances and the use of processing aids. The product quality may therefore vary from year to year.
Crude glycerol is a by-product obtained from the esterification of vegetable oils into biodiesel. Its qualities vary according to the production facilities, the raw materials utilised and the manufacturing process. Its colouring is influenced by the choice of vegetable oils used during the manufacturing process. Therefore, crude glycerol produced using rapeseed is generally lighter in colour than crude glycerol produced using soybean oil.
The ingredients listed as follows are considered the main quality criteria (on account of their usage), although in recent times, a greater distinction is drawn between GM and non-GM ingredients.