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New Uses for Sugar Beet Pulp

16 Jan

Read the full story in Agricultural Research.

More than 1 million tons of sugar beet pulp are generated annually by U.S. beet sugar industries. Finding profitable uses for the biodegradable pulp, which is the leftover residue from sugar extraction, is critical for the long-term economic viability of U.S. agribusiness.

Agricultural Research Service researchers and colleagues have long been studying the potential of sugar beet pulp utilization. Now, chemist LinShu Liu and plant physiologist Arland Hotchkiss, both with the Dairy and Functional Foods Unit at ARS’s Eastern Regional Research Center in Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania, and colleagues have found new uses for sugar beet pulp.

In collaboration with professor Jinwen Zhang of Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman, Liu and ARS-WSU colleagues developed a biodegradable thermoplastic (meaning plastic that becomes soft when heated) that could be used in disposable food containers.

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