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About Sugar

Sugar is contained in the sugar plant and stored as a solution in the cane stalk. It is believed to have been first extracted for human consumption in India in ancient times.

In Chemistry the term ‘Sugar’ denotes organic components having similar compositions and functions. They are carbohydrates of the general composition Cn (H2O) n. Sucrose or saccharose or cane sugar is a disaccharide consisting of two monosaccharidic components: D-glucose and D- fructose.

Sucrose differs from the sugars by its ability to crystallize easily. Carbohydrates are formed in plants by photosynthesis, a combination of CO2, water and energy.

6 CO + 6 H2 O + 675 Kcal = C6 H12O6 + 6 O2

About ICUMSA Sugar

ICUMSA is a world-wide body which brings together the activities of the National Committees for Sugar Analysis in more than thirty member countries. Work is carried out under various Subject headings, each headed by a Referee. Methods are recommended for tentative approval by ICUMSA in the first instance. Upon meeting all of the Commission's requirements, methods are accorded official status. Methods which are demonstrably useful and have found an established application, or which do not lend themselves to collaborative testing are given an Accepted status"

An ICUMSA rating is an international unit for expressing the purity of the sugar in solution, and is directly related to the colour of the sugar. Be aware that there are different types of ICUMSA units. For Brazilian sugar, the lower the ICUMSA figure the whiter the sugar. However, this is not the case in the E.U. for some unknown reason, which has been the subject of much discussion. SGS of Sao Paulo has published specifications for ICUMSA numbers for E.U. product which run contrary to the Brazilian specifications; for example, in Brazil SGS has an ICUMSA rating of 45 rbu for refined, indicating the highest quality, with other grades of lower quality (such as Special Extra Crystal) having a higher ICUMSA of 150 and so forth. This rating method is confirmed by the Institute of Sugar and Alcohol in Brazil.

The TU is heavily dependent upon "ash points", which are defined as "Conductivity ash, %, expressed to three decimal places" (British Sugar Corp., Central Laboratory, ICUMSA Headquarters). Further used to weight the TU is "reflectance Grade Colour" and "Solution Colour" or "Filtered Colour" as it is referred to, which have formulas for determination equally confusing as the one for "Ash Points". Thus, as you see, this is not easily understood by the novice.

Everyday Use Sugar

Sugar has been part of the human diet since ancient times. Traditional table sugar, or sucrose, is a disaccharide carbohydrate extracted from sugarcane or sugar beet using physical processes. The majority of the world’s sugar is produced in Asia and South America. Whether through direct consumption or via processed foods, almost everyone, everywhere consumes sugar on a daily basis.

Colour and Quality Control

The quality of sugar is based on several criteria such as color, sucrose content, moisture, grain, and filterability. Of these, color is the most important feature of sugar, as it is directly related to purity. Compared to brown sugar, white sugar has undergone more refining and contains less contaminants and chemicals, thus it is more pure.

ICUMSA Colour Test

The International Commission for Uniform Methods for Sugar Analysis (ICUMSA) is a regulatory organization which sets the global standard for quality control in sugar. The ICUMSA test evaluates the purity of sugar based on its color.

A colorimeter or photometer is used to measure the absorbance of sugar at different wavelengths. White sugar absorbs less light and results in lower ICUMSA values, whereas brown sugar absorbs more light and delivers higher values. Typically, an ICUMSA rating of 45 indicates a highly refined white sugar of high purity, whereas brown sugar would have a rating of around 1000.

Producers’ Challenges: Quality and Competition

  • The ICUMSA test allows sugar producers to assess the quality and safety of their products, and market them for a suitable price.
  • As competition is tight in the industry, sugar producers require fast, easy and accurate testing solutions for quality control.



White Crystal Sugar is recommended for most customers because it contains less chemical, it is more readily available, and it a lower cost replacement to the traditional White Refined Sugar ICUMSA RBU IU 45.

White Crystal Sugar is formed by crystallization process, without chemical refining.

Glass or special crystal sugar is the denomination given to the sugar obtained by controlled crystallization of the treated cane juice. 

To achieve this, a more demanding process of clarification is required, using sulphitation and chalking. They are fine, regular crystals, with high brightness and purity of 99.5%. It is ideal for the production of carbonated beverages, liqueurs, juices, ice cream and sweets in general.

Its main characteristics are: low soluble solids non-sugars and lighter coloring (tending to white). It can be stored for up to two years under suitable conditions.

ICUMSA 45 (White refined sugar): A highly refined white sugar product. This is the table sugar that most people use everyday and is typically sold as granulated sugar.
ICUMSA 150 (Plantation White): A white sugar commonly produced for local consumption in sugar cane growing countries. It is produced at the Sugar Mill without the need for additional refining of the raw sugar.

WHITE CRYSTAL SUGAR – From Salihah Resources Management SDN BHD

Colour White Crystal Sugar ICUMSA RBU IU 150
Icumsa Colour IU 159
Origin Brazil
Polarization 99.50% degree min
ASH Content 0.05g/100g
Moisture 0.04g/100g
Mercury Not Detected