Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Committee Chair(s)

William H. Bennett


William H. Bennett


The United States produces about 1.8 million tons of sugar annually. Approximately 75 per cent of this production is derived from sugar beets. The importance of the sugar beet crop in national and world economy is justification for research effort as a means to more economical production.

It is desirable that sugar beet processing be carried out in the most efficient manner. More effective utilization of the sugar beet and its by-products will add stability to the sugar beet industry.

For the past 170 years, since Achard found that sugar could be used for human consumption and that pulp might be fed to cattle, sugar processors have made limited use of the non-sugar constituents of the sugar beet. These materials have been disposed of almost exclusively as livestock ration supplements.

The non-sugar constituents have been largely responsible for failure to extract all of the sugar from the beet (13). As a result they have been viewed with suspicion by most sugar beet processors. However, recent development suggest that the utilization of sugar beet by-products will constitute a more important phase of the sugar beet industry in the future.

At this critical period in the sugar beet industry, it is difficult to overemphasize the need for a better understanding of the chemical constituents of the sugar beet and the effects of various physiological factors upon them. One of the non-sugar constituents of the sugar beet which has recently received attention is glutamic acid. This has been brought about primarily by the discovery that the salt, monosodium glutamate, has an enhancing effect upon the flavor and palatability of many foods. Using the sugar beet as almost the exclusive source of glutamic acid, a new industry (utilizing over 100 tons of beet molasses daily) has developed to manufacture and market this food seasoner (28).

Preliminary investigations at the Utah Experiment Station (14) showed that of all the chemical constituents determined, glutamic acid was the most variable. This agreed with earlier work in this field (16, 42). Being highly variable this constituent is a chief contributor to difficulties in sugar processing.

The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of some of the major agronomic factors, such as moisture, fertility, variety, and sampling date, upon the glutamic acid content of the sugar beet.