Study of storage pathogens and bacterial contamination in sugarbeet processing facilities.
Sugarbeet is one of two crops supporting sugar demand in the U.S. In the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, postharvest sugarbeet roots are stored for up to eight months prior to processing into sugar. During storage, endogenous metabolism and microbial activity cause root deterioration and sucrose loss. Furthermore, microorganisms, especially bacteria present in the processing streams at sugar factories cause additional sucrose loss and processing challenges due to biofilm formation and exopolysaccharide production. We recently examined postharvest sugarbeet roots to identify the major microbial isolates that are present and likely to cause disease and sucrose loss during storage. Bacteria present in factory diffusion tower raw juice were also identified. Knowledge of the microbial communities present in postharvest sugarbeet roots and factory processing streams aid in developing management strategies that limit sucrose loss during sugarbeet root storage and processing.