- Brix scale is frequently used as a measure of either dry matter or sugar content
- Brix testing is a quick and easy method for providing an indication of dry matter content
- Refractometer brix is method based upon measuring a liquid’s refractive index
- Hydrometer brix is a method based on the specific gravity of a sucrose solution
- Principle sugars found in molasses are sucrose, glucose and fructose
- Predominant component of molasses is sucrose
- Most common analytical method for sugars in molasses is Lane & Eynon
- Levels of sugars in molasses will vary by origin and can be a reflection of how efficiently the raw sugar has been processed
- pH of Cane molasses is typically 4.8 – 5.5
- pH of Beet molasses is typically 7 or higher
- When diluted Cane molasses can become corrosive through fermenting and producing acids
- Molasses is a viscous liquid
- Unlike a low viscosity fluid like water, molasses exhibits a laminar flow pattern
- The viscosity of molasses varies by origin dependant on the type of organic matter present
- Viscosity can be controlled by dry matter and temperature
ViscosityTHE VISCOSITY CONUNDRUM
The viscosity of sugar cane molasses varies widely from one country to another and from one year to another. The viscosity is most notably influenced not by total sugar content but rather the non-sugar organic matter of which there can be wide variations. These variations can be a function of climate, soil and factory processing and also the conditions under which the origin sugar cane is harvested.
Sugar cane naturally contains polysaccharides, the amount of these carbohydrates though can increase depending on the length of time between the cane being cut and then subsequently reaching the factory for processing. High levels of polysaccharides in sugar cane can greatly increase the viscosity and the “gumminess” of the molasses.
Sugar Cane molasses also exhibits the phenomenon called critical viscosity – which means above a certain dry matter content the viscosity increases at a greater rate than might be expected from the increased dry matter content.
HOW DO YOU ALTER THE VISCOSITY OF MOLASSES?
To overcome the operational challenges of thick molasses and the problem of critical viscosity the most common strategy is to reduce the dry matter content through either standardisation or blending with less viscous liquids such as CMS. If you decrease the dry matter of molasses by approx. 2-3% this should roughly halve the viscosity of molasses at any given temperature. Alternatively molasses can be heated, on some origins increasing the temperature of the liquid by 10°C can reduce the viscosity by half. However just as heating can significantly lead to a decrease in viscosity if you allow molasses to cool to low temperatures it will get more viscous.