Sugar beet
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Origins

In the 16th century, Olivier de Serres discovered the value of sugar beets for preparing sugar syrup. In his notes, he wrote: "The beet-root, when being boiled, yields a juice similar to syrup of sugar, which is beautiful to look at on account of its vermilion color."[8]

The methodical use of sugar beets for the extraction of sugar dates to 1747, when Andreas Sigismund Marggraf, professor of physics in the Academy of Science of Berlin, discovered the existence of a sugar in beets similar in its properties to that obtained from sugarcane.[9] The discovery was little used at first, however, and the manufacture of sugar from beets did not attain commercial importance for over half a century. Marggraf's student and successor Franz Karl Achard began selectively breeding sugar beet from the 'White Silesian' fodder beet in 1784. By the beginning of the 19th century, his beet was approximately 5–6% sucrose by (dry) weight, compared to around 20% in modern varieties. Under the patronage of Frederick William III of Prussia, he opened the world's first beet sugar factoryin 1801, at Cunern in Silesia.

The work of Achard soon attracted the attention of Napoleon Bonaparte, who appointed a commission of scientists to go to Silesia to investigate Achard's factory. Upon their return, two small factories were constructed near Paris. Although these factories were not altogether a success, the results attained greatly interested Napoleon, and in 1811, he issued a decree appropriating one million francs for the establishment of sugar schools, and compelling the farmers to plant a large acreage to sugar beets the following year. He also prohibited the further importation of sugar from the Caribbean effective in 1813.[7]

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Wikipedia info

Wikipedia info | Sugar beet | Scoop.it

Sugar beet, cultivated Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose root contains a high concentration ofsucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production. Sugar beets and other B. vulgariscultivars, such as beetroot and chard, share a common wild ancestor, the sea beet (Beta vulgaris maritima).[1]

 
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