Processing Technology Division

“Increase productivity and profitability of the sugar industry through improving efficiency of sugarcane and its co-products processing and diversifying the industry with value-added products while minimizing adverse effects on the environment”

Research activities within the Processing Technology Division are conducted in two distinct disciplines:

  • Mill Technology
  • Sugarcane By-Product Processing

The division places a primary focus on researching enhancements in the processing efficiencies of sugar mills and distilleries, as well as the innovation and development of various products derived from sugarcane.

Divisional Priority Areas...

Improvement of processing efficiencies of sugar mills and distilleries

The improvement of processing efficiencies in sugar mills and distilleries is a crucial initiative aimed at enhancing productivity, reducing waste, and optimizing resource utilization. This involves the implementation of advanced technologies and streamlined practices throughout the production chain

Development of yeast strains with genetically-improved characteristics for efficient fermentation of sugarcane molasses into ethanol

Sugarcane is a valuable source for ethanol production. The division involved in the development of sugarcane-derived ethanol.

Development of sugarcane-based value-added products

Innovations in product development extend to creating value-added products such as sugarcane-based beverages,and confectionery items, contributing to sustainability efforts.

Improvement of quality of sugarcane jaggery and syrup

The development of improved processing technologies that can enhance the overall quality of jaggery and syrup, including methods to reduce impurities and improve shelf life without compromising nutritional content.

Diversification of utilization of sugar industry co-products

The diversification of utilization of sugar industry co-products involves exploring innovative and sustainable ways to maximize the value derived from byproducts generated during the sugar production process

Product Developement

Ready–to–serve drink

Development of process to enhance the shelf-life of the pineapple and lime-flavored sugarcane juice by adding ascorbic acid.   The addition of 200 ppm ascorbic acid extended the shelf-life of the product up to two months without affecting its sensory attributes.  The proximate analysis revealed that the drink consisted of 78.8% moisture, 1.2% ash, 0.19% crude fat, 2.3% crude protein, and 17.51% total carbohydrates and gave 80.95 kcal energy per 100 ml

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Flavored jaggery production

Identified the best ratio for making sesame, ginger, vanilla and puff rice-flavored sugarcane jaggery to improve its flavour

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Jaggery-incorporated chocolate

The technology behind sugarcane jaggery-incorporated chocolate involves a combination of processes for production of jaggery from sugarcane and incorporating it into chocolate production. The developed chocolate fudge incorporated with sugarcane jaggery has a high mineral content (Mg (76.30±18.80ppm), Ca (65.47±0.51ppm), K (423.70±10.91ppm), Fe (3.61±0.54ppm) and Cu (0.25±0.00ppm)), antioxidant and phenolic content than the chocolate fudge made out of sugar

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Bagasse-incorporated biscuit

Development of a recipe for bagasse-incorporated biscuit production and conducting bio-chemical analysis for the product. According to the results of the sensory evaluation, cookies with a 5% bagasse from peeled stalks showed the highest overall acceptability than the cookies enriched by incorporating a 5% bagasse from stalks without peeling and a 10% bagasse of peeled stalks

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Bagasse-incorporated muffin

Suwandel rice flour base gluten free muffins were developed with replacing sugar by sugarcane jaggery as a natural sweetener and incorporating sugarcane bagasse as a natural fibre source. When consider the proximate data of the developed product, fibre content,ash content moisture content,phenolic content,mineral content, and antioxidant activity were found to be greater for sugarcane bagasse and sugarcane jaggery incorporated muffin than other muffins.Therefore,  the incorporation of sugarcane jaggery and bagasse fiber enhances the nutritional profile of the muffins. Hence sugarcane jaggery and bagasse can be incorporated to develop a fibre enrich, nutritious bakery products for healthy life.

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Different flavoured sugar

Sugar production from sugarcane  juice has been a valuable source of income in Sri Lanka and the value-added production increases consumer demand hence,  the study was conducted to develop mint-flavored brown and white sugar by incorporating Nilkatarolu flower (Clitoria ternatea) extract to alter the color of white sugarand developed Coffee flavoured sugar.The outcomes of this research hold the potential to offer a novel and appealing product that could find favor among consumers in Sri Lanka and beyond.

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Bagasse based briquettes and pellet

Significant amounts of bagasse are frequently gathered in open areas around sugar Factories in Sri Lanka. Due to the low bulk density of bagasse in its original state, storage and transportation expenses are quite high. Densifying Bagasse using briquet-ting/pelletizing technology helps to mitigate the issues and enhances the performance of briquette and pellet as combustible fuel.

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Semi-automated agitator and jaggery pans

High cost of production and less productivity are the main drawbacks which are faced in conventional manual stirring in Jaggery manufacturing process. This led to the need for an automated stirring process.

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Ongoing Research Activities..

PT/01/2022: Development of sugarcane based value added products

Testing sugarcane varieties for jaggery production

The Sugarcane Research Institute (SRI) promotes jaggery industry in areas where sugarcane cannot be transported to sugar mills. The quality of jaggery produced with different sugarcane varieties differ from each other. The varietal improvement program of the SRI is mainly directed towards the selection of varieties for sugar production. Most of the varieties in the replicated yield trial (RYT) stage of the each breeding series are with high cane yielding potential. However, some of these varieties may not be suitable for jaggery production since jaggery quality and recovery varies with the variety. Evaluation and screening of these varieties for jaggery recovery, quality and other desirable features is of paramount importance in identifying varieties suitable for commercial jaggery production. Therefore, the present study is conducting to select suitable sugarcane varieties for jaggery production.

Objective

  • To identify better sugarcane varieties for jaggery production

Development of sugarcane-based value-added products

Some farmers in Badulla and Moneragala districts grow sugarcane and produce jaggery and syrup as a cottage industry. As primitive processing techniques are used for producing jaggery and syrup, the yield and the quality standards of the products are extremely poor. Thus, the value of the products is low and resulted in low profitability. Therefore, production of high-quality jaggery with different forms, flavours, and packing the products with different methods to increase shelf life, etc. could be possible approaches to capture attractive and assured market for jaggery and increase income of the millers. Production of sugarcane-based fruit-flavoured juice drinks is another aspect that needs to be investigated to diversify the cottage industry. Sugar production from sugarcane generates many by-products which could be further processed for different value-added products to diversify in industry.

Objectives

  • To develop processes to produce jaggery with different flavours
  • To produce jaggery with different forms
  • To enhance the shelf- life of jaggery by using different packaging methods
  • To produce sugarcane-based fruit-flavoured juice drinks jelly, and develop techniques for its preservation.
  • To develop sugarcane based value added product
  • To develop sugar based value added product

Study the effect of organic cultivation on quality sugarcane jaggery production

Jaggery is an important natural sweetener widely used in confectionaries, culinary preparations and ayurvedic medicines. Jaggery has got nutritive as well as medicinal values unlike white sugar and is much sweeter than white sugar, by virtue of its higher content of reducing sugars. Jaggery, popularly known as gur, is a golden-yellow to dark brown, coarse in texture, wholesome, traditionally used and unrefined sugar, obtained by concentrating sugarcane juice.

In Sri Lanka, Sugarcane cultivated in commercial sugar project areas in Sevanagala, Pelwatte and Hingurana are used to produce sugar. In addition, some farmers grow sugarcane outside the designated sugar project areas in distant localities in Badulla and Moneragala district and produce jaggery and syrup as a cottage industry. Generally, sugarcane varieties have been cultivated inorganically and used a large amount of inorganic fertilizer. Sugarcane crop responds well to the inorganic fertilizer in terms of yield. But it adversely affected the biodiversity of micro and macro fauna of the soil. Therefore, organic cultivation of sugarcane is very much important to improve the soil health and ecosystems. Jaggery made from organically grown sugarcane is gaining more value in the market.

Objectives

  • Evaluate promising sugarcane varieties for quality organic jaggery production in different location in sri lanka
  • Identify the effect of the organic fertiliser for quality jaggery production

 

 

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PT/02/2022: Isolation of plant growth promoting microorganisms from diverse environment for bio-fertilizer formulation

Sugarcane plants require large amount of plant nutrients such as nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K) and as well as other micro nutrients. Microorganisms associated with sugarcane play a vital role in maintaining soil fertility and plant health. As inorganic fertilizers are expensive, and they have the potential to become environmental pollutants, incorporation of beneficial microorganisms to the soil is very important in sugarcane sector for sustainable crop production.

Microorganisms that are commonly used as bio-fertilizers including nitrogen-fixing soil bacteria, phosphate-solubilizing bacteria, potassium solubilizing bacteria and cyanobacteria. These microorganisms are involve to improved nutrient uptake, plant growth and plant tolerance to abiotic and biotic stress and also there are several naturally occurring soil microbes that inhibited the growth of plant pathogens and improve the plants’ growth by disease suppression (Singh, 2014). Therefore use of beneficial micro organisms as biofertilizers is being considered as a better alternative for inorganic fertilizer.

Objectives

  • To isolate plant growth promotive microorganisms associated with sugarcane and other grasses.
  • To evaluate nitrogen-fixing potentials and phosphate solubilizing potential of the isolated microorganisms.
  • To investigate the possibility of utilizing these microorganisms to supply plant growth promotive factors for sugarcane plant growth.
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Publications..

Peer-Reviewed / SCI Journals
  • Natasha Sewwandi M.G.G.,Sandya ariyawansha,Buddhika Sampath Kumara, Aloka Maralanda.(2021) Optimizing preliming pH for efficient juice clarification process in Sri Lankan sugar factories. Research Square (preprint).
  • Natasha Sewwandi M.G.G.,Sandya ariyawansha,Buddhika Sampath Kumara, Aloka Maralanda.(2021) Optimizing preliming ph for efficient juice clarification process in Sri Lankan sugar factories. International Journal of Engineering Applied Sciences and Technology, Vol. 6, Issue 1, ISSN No.2455-2143, Pages 14-20. 
  • Maralanda,S.M.T.A.,Gamage,K.G.R.,Perumpuli,B.,Perera,M.A.R.I.,andKarunarathna,W.K.D.S.2018.Shelf-life of Ready-To-Serve, Ascorbic Acid-added and Pineapple and Lime-flavoured Sugarcane Juice Beverage. Proceedings of international conference on Sugar and Sugar Derivatives under changing consumer preferences, National Sugar Institute, Kanpur,India.pp122-134.
  • Vijerathna,M.P.G.,IsuruWijesekara.,Maralanda,S.M.T.A.,R.PereraandJayasinghe,M.(2019).Physico-chemical characterization of cookies supplement with sugarcane bagasse fibers. Vidyodaya Journal of Science Vol. 22 No 01 (2019) 29-39.
  • Maralanda, S.M.T.A.., Chandrasena, G. and Priyadarshani, G.V.G., (2014). Isolation and evaluation of Indigenous Yeast Strains for improving Sugarcane Molasses Fermentation Efficiency in Sri Lankan Alcohol Distilleries.,Sugarcane Sri Lanka ,Vol 01.
  • Maralanda, S.M.T.A.., Chandrasena, G. and Priyadarshani, G.V.G., (2014). Isolation and evaluation of Indigenous Yeast Strains for improving Sugarcane Molasses Fermentation Efficiency in Sri Lankan Alcohol Distilleries. In:A.P Keerthipala(ed) Proceeding of the Fifth Symposium on plantation Crop Research “ towards a Green  Plantation Economy”. Sugarcane Research institute, Uda Walawe,70190,Sri Lanka,pp307-315.
  • Priyadarshani, G.V.G., Chandrasena, G. and Maralanda, S.M.T.A(2014). Isolation and Characterisation of Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria for the Production of Biofertiliser. In:A.P Keerthipala(ed) Proceeding of the Fifth Symposium on plantation Crop Research “ towards a Green  Plantation Economy”. Sugarcane Research Institute, Uda Walawe,70190,Sri Lanka,pp253-262.
  • Maralanda,S.M.T.A.,Gamage,K.G.R.,Perumpuli,B.,Perera,M.A.R.I.,andKarunarathna,W.K.D.S.2018.Shelf-life of Ready-To-Serve, Ascorbic Acid-added and Pineapple and Lime-flavoured Sugarcane Juice Beverage. Proceedings of international conference on Sugar and Sugar Derivatives under changing consumer preferences, National Sugar Institute, Kanpur,India.pp122-134.
  • Vijerathna,M.P.G.,IsuruWijesekara.,IndraWickramasinghe.,Maralanda,S.M.T.A.,and Jayasinghe,M.A(2018).Physico-chemical characterization of cookies enriched with sugarcane bagasse fibers.Proceeding of the 2nd International Research Symposium,Uva wellassa University,Badulla 9000,Sri Lanka.pp287.
  • Vijerathna,M.P.G.,Wijesekara,I.,Perera,M.A.R.I.,Maralanda,S.M.T.A.,Jayasinghe,M.A.,and Wickramasinghe,I., (2018).Physico-chemical characterization of cookies enriched with sugarcane bagasse fiber.Book of Abstract. SLCARP International Agricultural Research Symposium 2018.pp67.
  • Suvimal,W.K.D.C.,Wijesekara,I.,Karunararthna,W.K.D.S.,DeSilva,A.L.C.,Weeresinghe,H.A.S,Maralanda,S.M.T.A.,Wijesuriya,A., and Wickramasinghe,I.. 2018. Comparative Biochemica Analysis of granulated jaggery from peeled and unpeeled sugarcane stem. Book of Abstract. SLCARP International Agricultural Research Symposium 2018.pp 71.
  • Maralanda S.M.T.A., Gamage K.G.R., Perumpuli B., Karunarathna W.K.D.S., Perera M.A.R.I., Wijesuriya A. (2020) Shelf Life of Pineapple and Lime-Flavoured, Ascorbic Acid-Added and Ready-to-Serve Sugarcane Juice Beverage. In: Mohan N., Singh P. (eds) Sugar and Sugar Derivatives: Changing Consumer Preferences. Springer, Singapore

Our Staff..

Ms. S.M.T.A. Maralanda ​

Research Officer - In Charge

MSc, Crop Science, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

B.Sc, Agriculture, Uva Wellassa University

Research Interest:

  • Food processing
  • Microbiology
  • Sugarcane by-product processing

Research Officer​

PT Ms. Ruvini
Ms. M.A.R.I. Perera

Technical Officer

Job Role: Assisting research staff for research

PT Mr. Dimuthu
W.K.D.S.Karunarathna

Technical Officer

Job Role: Assisting research staff for research