Sugarcane , or sugar cane , are several species of tall perennial true fat of the genus Saccharum , tribe Andropogoneae , native to the warm temperate to tropical regions of South Asiaand Melanesia , and used for sugar production. It has stout, jointed, fibrous stalks that are rich in sugar sucrose , which accumulates in the stalk internodes .

The plant is two to six meters (six to twenty feet) tall. All sugar cane species interbreed and the major commercial cultivars are complex hybrids. Sugarcane belongs to the family Poaceae , an economically important maize, including maize, wheat, rice, and sorghum , and many drilling crops.

Sucrose, extracted and purified in specialized mill factories, is used as raw material in the food industry or is fermented to produce ethanol . Ethanol is produced on a large scale by the Brazilian sugarcane industry. Sugarcane is the world’s largest crop by production quantity. [1] In 2012, The Food and Agriculture Organization estimates were grown at 26 × 10 6 hectares (6.4 × 10 7 acres), in more than 90 countries, with a worldwide harvest of 1.83 × 10 9 tonnes (1.80 × 10 9 long tones; 2.02 × 10 9short tones). Brazil was the largest producer of sugar cane in the world. The next major producers, were in India, China, Thailand, Pakistan, and Mexico.

The world demand for sugar is the primary driver of sugarcane agriculture. Cane accounts for 80% of sugar produced; most of the rest is made from sugar beets . Sugarcane predominantly grows in the tropical and subtropical regions (sugar beets grow in colder temperate regions). Other than sugar, products derived from sugarcane include falernum , molasses , rum , cachaça (a traditional spirit from Brazil), bagasse , and ethanol. In some regions, people use sugarcane reeds to make pens, mats, screens, and thatch. The young, unexpanded inflorescence of tebu teloris eaten raw, steamed, or toasted, and prepared in various ways in certain island communities of Indonesia. [2]

The Persians, followed by the Greeks, discovered the famous “reeds that produce honey without bees” in India between the 6th and 4th centuries BC. They adopted and then spread sugarcane agriculture. [3] Merchants started to trade in sugar from India, which was considered a luxury and an expensive spice. In the 18th century AD, sugarcane plantations began in Caribbean, South American, Indian Ocean and Pacific island nations and the need for laborers became a major driver of large human migrations, including slave labor [4] and indentured servants . [5]


Sugarcane is a tropical, perennial grass that forms multiple shoots at the base to produce multiple stems, typically three to four m (10 to 13 ft) high and about 5 cm (2 in) in diameter. The stems grow into stalk cane, which when grown up around 75% of the entire plant. A mature stalk is typically composed of 11-16% fiber, 12-16% soluble sugars, 2-3% nonsugars, and 63-73% water. A type of fertilizer, soil type, irrigation, fertilizers, insects, disease control, varieties, and the harvest period. The average yield of cane stalk is 60-70 tonnes per hectare (24-28 long ton / acre, 27-31 short ton / acre) per year. However, this figure can vary between 30 and 180 tonnes per hectare depending on the knowledge and crop management approach used in sugarcane cultivation. Sugarcane is a crop cashbut it is also used as livestock fodder. [6]


Sugarcane is indigenous to tropical South and Southeast Asia . [8] Different species likely originated in different locations, with Saccharum barberi originating in India and S. edule and S. officinarum in New Guinea . [8] The earliest known production of crystalline sugar in India. The exact date of the first cane sugar production is unclear. The earliest evidence of sugar production from ancient Sanskrit and Pali texts. [9]

Around the 8th century, Muslim and Arab traders Introduced sugar from South Asia to the other parts of the Abbasid Caliphate in the Mediterranean , Mesopotamia , Egypt , North Africa , and Andalusia . By the 10th century, sources that no village in Mesopotamia did not grow sugarcane. [7] It was among the early crops brought to the Americas by the Spanish, mainly Andalusians, from their fields in the Canary Islands , and the Portuguese from their fields in the Madeira Islands .

Christopher Columbus first sugarcane to the Caribbean during his second trip to the Americas ; to the island of Hispaniola (modern day Haiti and the Dominican Republic ). In colonial times, sugar formed one side of the triangle trade of New World raw materials, along with European manufactured goods, and African slaves. Sugar (often in the form of molasses) was shipped from the Caribbean to Europe or New England, where it was used to make rum. The profits from the sale of sugar were then used to purchase goods, which were then shipped to West Africa, where they were bartered for slaves. The slaves were then brought back to the Caribbean to be sold to sugar planters. The profits from the slaves were then used to buy sugar, which was shipped to Europe.

Canada found its sugarcane islands so valuable that it effectively traded its portion of Canada , famously dubbed ” a few acres of snow “, to Britain for their return of Guadeloupe , Martinique and St. Lucia at the end of the Seven Years’ War . The Dutch similarly kept Suriname , a sugar colony in South America , instead of seeking the return of the New Netherlands (New York).

Boiling houses in the 17th century 19th century converted sugarcane juiceinto raw sugar. These houses were attached to sugar plantations in the western colonies. Slaves often run through the boiling process under very poor conditions. Rectangular boxes of brick or stone served as furnaces, with an opening to the bottom to the fire and remove ashes. At the top of each furnace, we are one of the world’s largest and most important manufacturers. The cane juice began in the largest kettle. The juice was then heated and lime added to remove impurities. The juice was skimmed and then channeled to successively smaller kettles. The last kettle, the “teache”, was where the cane juice became syrup. The next step was a cooling trough, where the sugar crystals hardened around a sticky core of molasses. This raw sugar was then shoveled from the cooling trough into hogsheads (wooden barrels), and from there into the curing house.

In the British Empire , slaves were liberated after 1833 and many would not work on sugarcane plantations when they had a choice. British owners of sugarcane plantations, and they found cheap labor in China, Portugal and India. [10] [11] The people were subject to indenture , a long-established form of contract which bound them to forced labor for a fixed term; apart from the fixed term of servitude, this resembled slavery. [12] The first ships carrying indentured laborers from India left in 1836. [13] The migration to serve sugarcane plantations led to a significant number of ethnic Indians, southeast Asians and Chinese settling in various parts of the world.[14] In Some islands and countries, the South Asian migrants now Constitute entre 10 and 50 percent of the population. Sugarcane plantations and Asian ethnic groups continues to thrive in countries Such As Fiji , Natal , Burma , Sri Lanka , Malaysia , British Guiana , Jamaica ,Trinidad , Martinique , French Guiana , Guadeloupe , Grenada , St. Lucia , St. Vincent , St. Kitts , St. Croix ,Suriname , Nevis , and Mauritius . [13] [15]

The then British colony of Queensland , now a state of Australia , coerced (or ” blackbirded “) between 55,000 and 62,500 (estimates vary) people from the South Pacific Islands to work on sugarcane plantations between 1863 and 1900. [16]

Cuban sugar derived from sugarcane has been exported to the USSR , where it has been marketed and guaranteed. The 1991 dissolution of the Soviet state of the sugar industry.

Sugarcane remains an important part of the economy of Guyana , Belize , Barbados , and Haiti , along with the Dominican Republic , Guadeloupe , Jamaica , and other islands.

About 70% of the sugar produced globally from S. officinarum and hybrids using this species. [17]

A 19th-century lithograph by Theodore Bray showing a sugarcane plantation: On the right is the “white officer”, the European overseer. Slave workers toil during the harvest. To the left is a flat-bottomed vessel for cane transportation.


Sugarcane cultivation requires a tropical or temperate climate, with a minimum of 60 cm (24 in) of annual moisture. It is one of the most efficient photosynthesizers in the plant kingdom . It is a C 4 plant , able to convert to 1% of incident solar energy into biomass. [18] In prime growth regions, such as Mauritius , Dominican Republic , Puerto Rico , India , Guyana , Indonesia , Pakistan , Peru , Brazil ,Bolivia , Colombia , Australia , Ecuador , Cuba , the Philippines , El Salvador , Jamaica , and Hawaii , sugarcane crops can produce over 15 kg / m 2 of cane. A major crop of the United States, sugarcane cultivation , Florida , Louisiana , and South Texas .

Sugarcane is cultivated in the tropics and subtropics in areas with a plentiful supply of water for a continuous period of six to seven months each year, either from natural rainfall or through irrigation. The crop does not tolerate severe frosts. Therefore, Most of the world’s sugarcane is grown entre 22 ° N and 22 ° S , and Some up to 33 ° N and 33 ° S . [19] When sugarcane crop is found outside this range, such as the Natalregion of South Africa, it is normally more of an anomalous climatic condition in the region, such as warm ocean currents that sweep down the coast. In terms of altitude, sugarcane crop is found up to 1,600 meters or 5,200 feet close to the equator in countries Such As Colombia , Ecuador , and Peru . [20]

Sugarcane can be grown there Many soils ranging from highly fertile well-drained Mollisols , through heavy cracking vertisols , infertile acid Oxisols , peaty histosols , to rocky Andisols . Both plentiful sunshine and water supplies increase cane production. This sugarcane-cultivating regions has some of the highest yields in the world.

Although some sugarcanes produce seeds, the most common method. [21] Each cut must be at least one bud, and the cuttings are sometimes hand-planted. In more technologically advanced countries like the United States and Australia, ticket planting is common. Tickets harvested from a mechanical harvester are planted by a machine that opens and recloses the ground. Once planted, a stand can be harvested several times; after each harvest, the cane sends up new stalks, called ratoons. Successive harvests give decreasing yields, eventually justifying replanting. Two to 10 harvests are usually made on the type of culture. In a country with a mechanical agriculture looking for a high production of large fields, like in North America, sugar canes are replanted after two or three harvests to avoid a lowering in yields. In countries with a more traditional kind of agriculture with smaller fields and hand harvesting, like in the French island Reunion , sugar canes are harvested Often up to 10 years before replanting.

Sugarcane is harvested by hand and mechanically. Hand harvesting accounts for more than half of production, and is dominant in the developing world. In hand harvesting, the field is first set on fire. The fire burns dry leaves, and chases away or kills any lurking venomous snakes, without harming the stalks and roots. Harvesters then cut the cane just above ground-level using cane knives or machetes . A skilled harvester can cut 500 kg (1,100 lb.) of sugarcane per hour. quote needed ]

Mechanical harvesting uses a combine , or sugarcane harvester . [22] The Austoft 7000 series, the original modern harvester design, including Cameco / John Deere . quote needed ]The machine cuts the cane at the base of the stalk, strips the leaves, The harvester then blows the trash back onto the field. Such machines can harvest 100 long tones (100 t) each hour; however, harvested cane must be quickly processed. Once cut, sugarcane begins to lose its sugar content, and damage to the cane during mechanical harvesting accelerates this decline. This decline is offset by a modern chopper harvester can complete the harvest faster and more efficiently. Austoft also developed a series of hydraulic high-lift infield transporters to work alongside their harvesters to allow even more rapid transfer of cane to, for example, the nearest railway siding. This mechanical harvesting doesn ‘ t require the field to be set on fire; The field of the millet is one of the most important of the world.


The cane beetle (also known as cane grub) it can be controlled with imidacloprid (Confidor) gold chlorpyrifos (Lorsban). Significant other pests are the larvae of Some butterfly / mothspecies, Including the turnip moth , the sugarcane borer ( Diatraea saccharalis ), the African sugarcane borer (Eldana saccharina), the Mexican rice borer ( Eoreuma loftini ), the African armyworm ( African armyworm ), leaf-cutting ants, termites ,spittlebugs (especially Mahanarva fimbriolata and Deois flavopicta ), and the beetle Migdolus fryanus . The planthopper insect Eumetopina flavipes acts as a vector virus , which causes the sugarcane disease ramu stunt . [23] [24]


Main article: List of sugarcane diseases

Numerous pathogens infect sugarcane, such as sugarcane grassy shoot disease caused by Phytoplasma , whiptail disease or sugarcane smut , boeng pokkah caused by Fusarium moniliforme , Xanthomonas axonopodis bacteria causes Gumming Disease , and red rot disease caused by Colletotrichum falcatum . Viral diseases affecting sugarcane include sugarcane mosaic virus , maize streak virus , and sugarcane yellow leaf virus .

Nitrogen fixation

Some sugarcane varieties are capable of fixing atmospheric nitrogen in association with the bacterium Gluconacetobacter diazotrophicus . [25] Similar vegetables and other nitrogen-fixing plants that form root nodules in the soil in association with bacteria, G. diazotrophicus lives within the intercellular spaces of the sugarcane’s stem. [26] [27] Coating seeds with the bacteria is a newly developed technology that can enable each crop species to fix nitrogen for its own use. [28]

Conditions for sugarcane workers

At least 20,000 people are estimated to have died of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in Central America in the past two decades. This may be working in the heat without adequate fluid intake. [29]


Traditionally, sugarcane processing requires two stages. Sugar crystals appear naturally in the process of sugar-extraction mills, Sugar crystals appear naturally in Sulfur dioxide is added to inhibit the formation of color-inducing molecules and to stabilize the sugar during evaporation. [30] [31]Refineries, North America, Europe, and Japan, then produce refined white sugar, which is 99 percent sucrose. These two stages are slowly merging. Increasing affluence in the sugar-producing tropics increased demand for refined sugar products, driving a trend towards combined milling and refining.


Sugarcane processing produces sugar cane (sucrose) from sugarcane. Other methods of processing include bagasse, molasses, and filtercake.

Bagasse , the residual dry fiber of the cane after cane juice has been extracted, is used for several purposes: [32]

  • fuel for the boilers and kilns,
  • production of paper, paperboard products, and reconstituted panelboard,
  • agricultural mulch, and more,
  • as a raw material for production of chemicals.

The primary use of bagasse and bagasse is a source for the boilers in the generation of steam process in sugar plants. Dried filtercake is used as an animal feed supplement, fertilizer, and source of sugarcane wax.

Molasses is produced in two forms: Blackstrap , which has a characteristic strong flavor, and a purer molasses syrup. Blackstrap molasses is sold as a food and dietary supplement. It is also a common ingredient in animal feed, is used to produce ethanol and rum , and in the manufacturing of citric acid . Purer molasses syrups are sold as molasses, and may also be blended with maple syrup , invert sugars, or corn syrup . Both forms of molasses are used in baking.


Sugar refining further purifies the raw sugar. It is first mixed with heavy syrup and then centrifuged in a process called “affination”. Its purpose is to wash away the sugar crystals’ outer coating, which is less pure than the crystal interior. The remaining sugar is then dissolved to make a syrup, about 60 percent solids by weight.

The sugar solution is clarified by the addition of phosphoric acid and calcium hydroxide , which combines to precipitate calcium phosphate . The calcium phosphate particles trap some impurities and absorb others, and then float to the top of the tank, where they can be skimmed off. An alternative to this “phosphatation” technique is ” carbonation, ” which is similar, but uses carbon dioxide and calcium hydroxide to produce calcium carbonate precipitate.

After filtering any remaining solids, the clarified syrup is decolorized by filtration through activated carbon . Bone char or coal-based activated carbon is traditionally used in this role. [33] Some remaining color-forming impurities are adsorbed by the carbon. The purified syrup is then concentrated to supersaturation and repeated crystallization in a vacuum, to produce white refined sugar . As in a sugar mill, the sugar crystals are separated from the molasses by centrifuging. [34] Additional sugar is: recovered by blending the remaining syrup with the washings from affination Crystallizing and again to Produce brown sugar. When no more sugar can be economically recovered, the final molasses still contains 20-30 percent sucrose and 15-25 percent glucose and fructose.

To produce granulated sugar , in which individual grains do not clump, sugar must be dried, first by heating in a rotary dryer, and then by blowing cool air through it for several days.

Ribbon cane syrup

Ribbon cane is a subtropical type that was once grown in the United States, as far north as coastal North Carolina . The juice is extracted with horse or mule-powered crushers; The juice was boiled, like a syrup , a flat pan, and then used in the syrup as a food sweetener. [35] It is not currently a commercial crop, but a few growers find ready sales for their product. quote needed ]

Pollution from sugarcane processing

Particulate matter, combustion products, and volatile organic compounds are the primary pollutants emitted during sugarcane processing. [32] Combustion products include nitrogen oxides (NO X ), carbon monoxide (CO), CO 2 , and sulfur oxides (SO X ). Potential emission sources include sugar granulators, sugar conveying and packaging equipment, bulk loadout operations, boilers, granular carbon and char regeneration kilns, regenerated adsorbent transport systems, kilns and handling equipment (at some facilities), carbonation tanks, multi-effect evaporator stations , and vacuum boiling pans. Modern pollution prevention technologies are capable of addressing all of these potential pollutants. citation needed]


Top ten sugarcane producers – 2015 [1]
Country Production
(thousand metric tons, TMT)
 brazil 739.267
 india 341.200
 china * 125.536
 thailand 100.096
 Pakistan 63,750
 mexico 61.182
 colombia 34.876
 Indonesia * 33,700
 philippines 31.874
 United States 27.906
 world 1877105
P = official figure, F = FAO estimate, * = Unofficial / Semi-official / mirror data, C = Calculated figure
A = Aggregate (may include official, semi-official or estimates);
Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: The Economic and Social Department: The Statistical Division

Brazil led the world in sugarcane production in 2013 with a 739,267 TMT harvest. [1] India was the second largest producer with 341,200 TMT tones, and China’s third largest producer with 125,536 TMT tones harvest.

The average worldwide yield of sugar crops in 2013 was 70.77 tons per hectare. [1] The most productive farms in the world were in Peru with a nationwide average crop yield of 133.71 tons per hectare.

The theoretical feasible yield for sugar cane, according to 1983 study of Duke, is about 280 metric tons per hectare per year, and small experimental plots in Brazil have demonstrated yields of 236-280 metric tons of fresh cane per hectare. [36] [37] The most promising region for high yield sugarcane production was in drenched drenched, irrigated farms of northern Africa, and other deserts with plentiful water from river or irrigation canals.

In the United States, sugarcane is grown commercially in Florida , Hawaii , Louisiana , and Texas . [38]

Brazil uses sugarcane to produce sugar and ethanol for gasoline-ethanol blends ( gasohol ), a locally popular transportation fuel . In India , sugarcane is used to produce sugar, jaggery and alcoholic beverages.


Ethanol is generally available as a byproduct of sugar production. It can be used as a biofuel alternative to gasoline, and is widely used in Brazil. It is an alternative to gasoline, and may be the primary product of sugarcane processing, rather than sugar.

In Brazil, gasoline is required to contain at least 22 percent bioethanol. [39] This bioethanol is sourced from Brazil’s wide sugarcane crop.

The production of ethanol from sugar cane is more energy efficient than from corn or sugar beets or palm / vegetable oils, especially ife bagasse is used to produce heat and power for the process. Furthermore, biofuels are used for crop production and transportation, the fossil energy input needed for each ethanol energy unit can be very low. EIA estimates that with an integrated sugar cane to ethanol technology, the well-to-wheels CO 2 emissions can be 90 percent lower than conventional gasoline. [39]

A textbook on renewable energy [40] describes the energy transformation:

Presently, 75 tons of raw sugar cane are produced per hectare in Brazil. The cane delivered to the processing plant is called burned and cropped (b & c), and represents 77% of the mass of the raw cane. The reason for this is that the stalks are separated from the leaves, and from the roots that remain in the ground to sprout for the next crop. Average cane production is, therefore, 58 tons of b & c per hectare per year.

Each tone of b & c yields 740 kg of juice (135 kg of sucrose and 605 kg of water) and 260 kg of moist bagasse (130 kg of dry bagasse). Since the lower heating value of sucrose is 16.5 M J / kg, and that of the bagasse is 19.2 MJ / kg, the total heating value of the product is 4.7 GJ of which 2.2 GJ come from the sucrose and 2.5 from the bagasse .

Per hectare per year, the biomass produced corresponds to 0.27 TJ. This is equivalent to 0.86 W per square meter. Assuming an average insolation of 225 W per square meter, the photosynthetic efficiency of sugar cane is 0.38%.

The 135 kg of sucrose found in 1 ton of beer were converted into 70 liters of ethanol with a 1.7GJ. The practical sucrose-ethanol conversion efficiency is, therefore, 76% (compared with the theoretical 97%).

One hectare of sugar cane yields 4,000 liters of ethanol per year, because the bagasse produced exceeds the final product. This, however, does not include the energy used in transportation, transportation, and so on. Thus, the solar energy-to-ethanol conversion efficiency is 0.13%.

Bagasse applications

Sugarcane is a major crop in many countries. It is one of the plants with the highest bioconversion efficiency. Sugarcane is 55% of dry matter per hectare of land annually. After harvest, the crop produces sugar juice and bagasse, the fibrous dry matter. This dry matter is biomass with potential as fuel for energy production. Bagasse can also be used as an alternative source of pulp for paper production. [41]

Sugarcane bagasse is a potentially abundant source of energy for large producers of sugarcane, such as Brazil, India and China. According to one report, with the use of new technologies, bagasse produced annually in Brazil has the potential of meeting 20 percent of Brazil’s energy consumption by 2020. [42]

Electricity production

A number of countries, in particular those of any fossil fuel, have implemented energy conservation and efficiency measures to minimize energy use in processing and further export any excess electricity to the grid. Bagasse is usually burned to produce steam, which in turn creates electricity. Current technologies, such as those in Mauritius , produce over 100 kWh of electricity per tonne of bagasse. With a total world harvest of over 1 billion tonnes of sugar per year, the global energy potential of bagasse is over 100,000 GWh. [43] Using Mauritius as a reference, an annual potential of 10,000 GWh of additional electricity could be produced throughout Africa . [44] Electrical generation from bagasse could become quite important, particularly to the rural populations of sugarcane production nations.

Cogeneration technology plants are being designed to produce 200 to 300 kWh of electricity per tonne of bagasse. [45] [46] As sugarcane is a seasonal crop, shortly after harvesting the supply of bagasse would peak, requiring power generation plants to strategically manage the storage of bagasse.

Biogas production

A greener alternative to burning bagasse for the production of electricity is to convert bagasse into biogas . Technologies are being developed to use enzymes to transform bagasse into advanced biofuels and biogas. [42]

Medicinal use

In Ayurveda , the Indian system of medicine, the sugarcane is MOST Commonly Known in Sanskrit as IKSU, Having characteristics Such As Improving strength and acting as an aphrodisiac. It has the following synonyms: Dīrghachada, Bhūrirasa, Guḍamūla, Asipatra, Madhutṛṇa. These synonyms are described in nighaṇṭus such as the Bhāvaprakāśa (1.6.23, group of sugarcanes). The juice of the sugarcane is known as Phāṇita. [47]

Sugarcane as food

In most countries where sugarcane is grown, there are

  • Raw sugarcane: Chewed to juice extract
  • Sayur nganten : An Indonesian soup with the stem of trubuk ( Saccharum edule ), a type of sugarcane.
  • Sugarcane juice : a combination of fresh juice, with a touch of lemon and ice to make a popular drink, known variously as air tebu , usacha rass , guarab , guarapa, guarapo, papelón , aseer asab , ganna sharbat , mosto , caldo de cana , nước miá .
  • Syrup : a traditional sweetener in soft drinks, now largely supplanted in the US by high fructose corn syrup , which is less expensive because of sugar subsidies. [49]
  • Molasses : used as a sweetener and a syrup accompanying other foods, such as cheese or cookies
  • Jaggery : a solidified molasses, known as gur or gud or gul in India, is traditionally produced by evaporating juice to make a thick sludge, and then cooling and molding it in buckets. Modern production partially freeze dries the juice to reduce caramelization and lighten its color. It is used as a sweetener in cooking traditional entrees, sweets and desserts.
  • Falernum : a sweet, and lightly alcoholic drink made from sugarcane juice
  • Cachaça : the most popular distilled alcoholic beverage in Brazil; made of the distillation of sugarcane juice.
  • Rum : is a liquor made from sugarcane products, usually molasses but sometimes also cane juice. It is most commonly produced in the Caribbean.
  • Basi : a fermented alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane juice produced in the Philippines and Guyana .
  • Panela : solid pieces of sucrose and fructose obtained from the boiling and evaporation of sugarcane juice; a food staple in Colombia and other countries in South and Central America
  • Rapadura : a sweet flour that is one of the simplest refinings of sugarcane juice, common in Latin American countries such as Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela (where it is known aspapelón ) and the Caribbean.
  • Rock candy : crystallized cane juice
  • Syrup cake