Document Type : Research Article


Department of Food Science and Technology, Faculty of Agriculture, Urmia University, Iran.


Introduction Raw sugar beet juice (RSBJ) is an intermediate of sugar beet processing obtaining by diffusion process. The RSBJ contains approximately 85% water, 13% sucrose, and 2% non-sugar compounds (impurities) and its purity ranges from 85 to 88%. Due to the low purity, the RSBJ should be subjected to purification process. The conventional purification occurs in a complex multistage process including pre-liming, main liming, first carbonation, and second carbonation. In liming step, lime milk (Ca(OH)2) is added to destabilize and precipitate the non-sugar compounds. Then the CO2 gas is added to precipitate the lime (as calcium carbonate). Although the application of lime is very well known but some impurities, including phenolic compounds, saponins, proteins and lipids pass through purification processing into the white sugar and cause serious difficulties. Due to the variety of compounds (dissolved or suspended) present in RSBJ and this fact that different processes may remove different types of compounds, various fining agents are required to clarification of raw juices. Bentonite, silica sol, gelatin and activated carbon are four types of natural adsorbents, which have been used in many applications, in different fields and processes, including the food industry. Differences in the nature of ionic charges of juice compounds and the fining agents induce neutralization, and flocculation and result in the removal of them from the juice. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the efficiency of bentonite, silica sol, gelatin and activated carbon in the removal of impurities (protein, saponin and phenolic compounds) causing floc in acidic beverage and improving the purification indexes of RSBJ (turbidity, color, ash and purity). Floc refers to the cloudy and turbid precipitate that forms in some sugar-sweetened carbonated soft drinks after standing for several days. While flocs are harmless, they are a visible defect and consumers don’t accept the soft drink product for aesthetic reasons. Currently, most researchers assume that saponins are primarily responsible for floc formation. However, there are some studies indicating that protein, phenolic compounds and lipids also play a role in floc formation.
 Materials and methods: The RSBJ was regularly obtained from the sugar factory of Piranshahr, Iran. The RSBJ was sampled at the point just before the purification step and immediately transferred to the lab. Fining agents used for clarification including bentonite (Na–Ca Bentonite ERBSLÖH, Geisenheim, Germany), silica sol 15% (Baykisol 15%), Gelatin (type-A; 100 bloom, Erbigel, Germany) and activated carbon (CS-2000, Gostar Ghoumes CO. Iran) was provided by Azar kam Co. Urmia. Iran. For each experiment, 200 ml of the raw juice was subjected to various refining treatments. The RSBJ were refined at 75 °C for 100 min by fining agents. Fining agents were added to beet juice samples according to the preliminary experiments. After the completion of the clarifying process, juice samples were passed through a microfilter (45 µm) to removing formed floc. In order to compare the mentioned treatments (bentonite, silica sol, gelatin and activated carbon) with the conventional method, the RSBJ was also treated with lime-carbon dioxide in four stages (pre-liming (15 minutes at 85 ° C), main liming (15 min at 88 ° C), first carbonation (up to pH 11, 90 ° C) and second carbonation (up to pH 9, 92 ° C)). After applying the treatments, purity and ash content (by conductimetry method) was measured as the main purification indexes for assessing the quality of the juice samples. The total protein (by dye-binding method), total phenolic compound (by Folin-Ciocalteu reagent) and total saponin content (by vanillin-sulfuric acid method) was also determined as the compounds have a key role in formation of acid beverage floc.
 Results and discussion: In this study, four refining agents of bentonite, silica sol, gelatin and activated carbon were used to improve the purification indexes of RSBJ and to remove non-sugar impurities causing floc in acidic beverage (such as carbonated beverages). Based on the ash and purity, it was showed that the applied adsorbents (bentonite, silica, gelatin and active charcoal) significantly improved the purification indexes of RSBJ. The results also showed that the ability of bentonite as a negative charged adsorbent was considerably higher than silica-sol in removing impurities (protein, saponin and phenolic compounds) causing floc, and improving the purification indexes (turbidity, color, ash and purity). So, the bentonite treatment reduced protein, phenolic compounds and saponin content of juice by 68, 61 and 40 %, respectively. The combination of gelatin and activated carbon as supplemental clarifiers with bentonite and silica also improved the parameters measured. In general, Bentonite-Activated carbon treatment had the best results, resulting in a reduction of 73, 87 and 85 % in protein, phenolic compounds and saponin, respectively. In this study, mentioned treatments were also compared with conventional treatment (lime-carbon dioxide) and it was observed that new treatments can be a good choice to combine or replace with conventional treatment.


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