The sugar technology department undertakes research, development, consulting and investigation activities in the areas of competence of food and sugar technology for regular clients and licensees.

Raw Material

Raw Materials

The task relates to the further development of the conventional as well as the biological production of sugar beet involving both national and international research capacities. The results of in-depth laboratory work and extensive field trials form the basis of scientifically sound advice for beet growers.


The main focus areas of agricultural research concentrate in particular on regulating adverse events such as pest and fungal-related epidemics.

"Agricultural research" focuses in particular on the regulation of calamities (the occurrence of animal pests) or epidemics caused i.e. by fungal pathogens. This includes the development of comprehensive monitoring systems, the definition of damage-related thresholds as well as the implementation of warning service models based on these and the development of alternative possibilities of protecting sugar beet.

Due to restrictions in terms of herbicide availability, the importance of research on weed regulation is growing due to the extreme sensitivity of this field crop during its youth development. The use and further development of soil testing based on the ElectroUltra-Filtration (EUF) method – since 2000 alone, around 200,000 soil samples, corresponding to an advised of about 3,000,000 hectares have been tested – are  critical to the need for environmentally sensitive crop nutrition and the characterisation of location-related soil fertility.

This work is accompanied by investigations on the influence of soil cultivation processes and the use of catch crops, not least due to the need to improve the water use efficiency of sugar beet. The research programme is rounded off by ongoing efforts to optimise catch crop seed mixtures for sowing in fall before sugar beet.


ARIC maintains a comprehensive system for crop variety analyses related to sugar beet.

In cooperation with the Austrian Agency for Health and Food Safety Ltd. (AGES, Vienna), a comprehensive system for variety testing is established in sugar beet. Stable and acceptable crop yields are key to maintaining the competitiveness of sugar beet growing in a region which is characterised by the hot and dry Pannonian climate. High sugar contents are a precondition for the efficient use of resources, particularly energy, in the processing of sugar beet. Testing for high levels of resistance against pests as well as fungal and viral pathogens and for high water use efficiency are further main targets. AGRANA is firmly committed to GMO-free growing methods.

Technological sugar beet quality

The technological quality of sugar beet relates to the sugar (sucrose) contained in the beet, which can be obtained in crystalline form during the industrial sugar production process.

The technological quality of sugar beet relates to the sugar (sucrose) contained in the beet, which can be obtained in crystalline form during the industrial sugar production process. 

The key is ensuring that the most important beet constituents can be determined as easily and automatically as possible in the beet laboratory. These are:
•    Potassium
•    Sodium
•    Alpha-amino nitrogen

Numerous so-called quality formulae exist which are important when selecting beet varieties and as the basis for quality-related bonus payments. 

At AGRANA, the formula applied currently to determine the technological quality of sugar beet is the so-called New Brunswick Formula (Buchholz et al., 1995).



One of the main focus areas in sugar technology relates to the continuous improvement of processes and, in particular, the optimised use of processing aids which represent a significant cost factor during sugar production.

Process optimisation

These optimisations involve developing robust equipment which can be used under industrial process conditions:

Anti-Foam Optimizer

This device is used to optimally dose anti-foaming agents.


ARIC Universal

This device combines several functions and is used to determine the effective alkalinity (the difference between juice alkalinity and calcium content) during the juice purification process .

  • Alkalinity determination (ALKA) – to determine juice alkalinity
  • Lime salts analyser (LISA / LISA+) – to determine juice hardness (calcium content)

In combination with the OPAL (optimal alkalization) calculation program, it is possible to rely on the juice hardness (LISA+), juice alkalinity (ALKA) and the flow rate of the juice in the plant to dose the optimum amount of sodium hydroxide solution during the juice purification process.

Products & Applications

Products & Applications



Beta Pura GmbH is a joint venture between AGRANA GmbH and The Amalgamated Sugar Company LLC, the second largest US beet sugar producer. The betaine crystallisation plant in Tulln is the world’s third production site at which liquid betaine is extracted chromatographically from sugar beet molasses and then crystallised.

The valuable crystalline betaine is multifunctional and is used not only in feed for livestock but also in nutritional supplements such as sports drinks. Due to its osmoregulatory properties at a cellular level, betaine is also used in cosmetic products.

In order to maintain the high-quality standards of Beta Pura, the departments at ARIC work in an interdisciplinary manner on the areas of quality control, product development and optimising betaine yields, from the field to the final crystallization process.

Sugar varieties

The range of sugar products sold to industrial customers and consumers under the Wiener Zucker brand is both diverse and premium in terms of quality. This extends from normal granulated sugar (normal and fine crystal sugar) to  sugar cubes as well as icing sugar and powdered sugar.


Sustainability is a priority issue, which is why we have established a range of organic sugar products that is being constantly extended.

Specialities such as caster sugar, syrup sugar or sugar crystals round off the product range.

At ARIC, new products are developed, stability tests performed and our product range regularly adjusted or extended to fulfil customer demands.



During the sugar production process, other important products are being produced besides sugar; products which are used in animal feed.

After washing the sugar beet, the sugar (sucrose) is extracted from so called sugar beet cossettes (sliced sugar beet), which are immersed in hot water in the extraction area. Once the majority of the sugar has been extracted, the resulting exhausted cossettes are pressed to give pressed pulp which is then dried and pelleted in a multi-phase process.

The extracted sugar is then subjected to a juice purification process relying on its treatment with lime and carbonic acid in order to remove non-sugars. This is followed by a thickening process of the purified thin juice which takes place in the evaporator station and ultimately several sugar crystallisation steps. Besides crystalline sugar, this results in molasses which can be used in animal feedstuffs. The dried  sugar beet pulp can also be mixed with molasses and pelleted.Animal feedstuffs produced during the sugar production  process:

  • Unmolassed sugar beet pulp pellets
  • Molassed sugar beet pulp pellets
  • Molasses



Besides sugar, pressed and dried sugar beet pulp (both highly valued animal feeds) as well as molasses, the processing of sugar beet also results in products which can be sold as fertilisers. The launch of these fertilisers on the market was scientifically accompanied by numerous field trials.

So-called non-sugars extracted from sugar beet pulp are separated by adding lime milk and subsequently precipitating this out by aerating with carbon dioxide. Resulting “Carbonatation lime” is valued as a highly effective liming fertiliser due to its extremely fine composition. This fertilizer also contains all of the phosphorous found in the sugar beet at the refinery as well as much of the nitrogen taken up by the sugar beet from the soil. Nitrogen – organically bound -  and phosphorous consequently find their way back to the field.

The further desugarisation of molasses by means of a physical process results in an organic fertiliser known as DüngeMel , which is rich in potassium and organically bound nitrogen compounds. 

Fermentation Technology

Sugar-rich materials represent ideal substrates for various microorganisms. Sucrose and molasses for example, can be used to propagate and multiply yeasts, bacteria and filamentous fungi. This involves scaling up the fermentation processes starting from experiments in shaking flaks up to a 300-litre bioreactor.

Afterwards, the resulting biomass and metabolic products can be further processed to produce for example organic pesticides, fertilisers or proteins.



The AGRANA Research & Innovation Center (ARIC) investigates diverse issues related to the Group’s Fruit, Starch and Sugar divisions. Besides product innovations, department-level projects also address process optimisations and new production technologies. Tailored analytical support is necessary for many of these projects.

In order to ensure optimal project management, we have elected to perform many of the required analytical procedures in-house. The Analytics staff department acts as a single point of contact for all other departments when it comes to various instrumental analyses. Other questions require application-based, technological investigations, need to be analysed microbiologically or can be answered by our trained tasting panel.

Application Technology

Besides the physical and chemical characterisation of starches, starch derivatives and starch by-products, another focus is on application-based, technological analyses in the various product application areas. Only once the products are used in realistic formulations it can be determined whether these meet AGRANA’s high quality standards.

Starch products are widely used in technical areas, particularly in the paper industry, the construction sector, as components in biologically degradable plastics and also as adhesives. Diverse application areas can also be found in the food sector. These range from bakery and confectionery products, meat products and sweets to delicatessen products. AGRANA products are also used in cosmetics, such as dry hair shampoos and skin creams.


Microbiological analyses are regularly performed in order to maintain the high quality and safety levels of products from AGRANA.  This is not only related to quality control of various products, but also to procedures such as

  • Hygiene monitoring by means of airborne germ measurements and swabbing procedures
  • Testing in production facilities at every step of the production process
  • The disinfection procedures of production equipment (heat exchangers, cooling towers, warehouses, etc.)
  • Support when hygiene-related problems arise

The microbiological analyses performed rely on standard agar plate procedures as well as molecular biological methods. Besides conventional PCR devices, we also have a digital and a quantitative PCR device available for these tests.

A Safety Level 2 laboratory has been set up for more complex testing requirements. This enables us to work with pathogenic bacteria and viruses.      

Instrumental Analytics

In order to perform the growing number of project-related tasks, instrumental analytics has become an important part of our work and is organised centrally as a staff department. This department acts as a point of contact for chemical-analytical questions, method development and validation.

We currently have several HPLC systems with RI, UV/VIS, FLD and CAD available for performing instrumental analytics. In addition, HPLC systems with MS detection are also used to quantitatively determine the presence of mycotoxins. Gas chromatography devices with FID are employed to analyse volatile organic substances. Anions are analysed using IC and the range of analytical options is rounded off by elemental analytics based on ICP-OES.

Chemical Analysis

Standard chemical analyses are also performed at ARIC to identify the presence and concentrations of chemical substances. Solid, liquid and gaseous substances are investigated. Depending on the specific focus areas, the Starch (Food & Non-Food) Life Science & Fruit Technology as well as the Sugar Technology departments are equipped with various analytical devices. The equipment consists of different measuring devices for performing the photometric and enzymatic testing of analytes.

Contract analysis can also be performed for third parties. For more details, please contact info-ric@Remove


Tasting Panel

The analytical tasting panel at ARIC consists of 35 trained panellists. They work in a professionally equipped tasting room to evaluate sensory properties such as the appearance, odour, taste and texture of AGRANA’s product portfolio as well as finished products manufactured using these as ingredients. The many years of experience based on over 100 sensory tests a year cover the following product categories:

  • Fruit Division: fruit snacks, fruit yoghurts, ice creams and chocolate-based products
  • Starch Division: bakery products; speciality foods such as sauces, creams and spreads; and cosmetics such as skin creams and lotions
  • Sugar Division: the range of organic and normal sugar products such as icing sugar, gelling and syrup sugars as well as caster sugar

The tasting panel therefore plays a central role in successful product and technological development work at AGRANA.