together a passionate biologist specializing in plants and also microbes, I an especially enjoy studying just how they live together, to boost our understanding for sustainable tree protection and also agriculture. Therefore, ns use modern machines, cameras and computers to analyze plant diseases and also pests in greenhouses and on the field. In my current position, in ~ the north Rhine-Westphalia room of Agriculture, my team and also I examine sustainable agriculture, come secure a sufficient crop production through the lowest environmental stress together possible. We also run one advisory service, to do our results easily accessible to farmers. *matheus.kuska

Sabine Von Tiedemann

Sabine Von Tiedemann

as an agronomist, i have faced forecasting models in grain cultivation, through plant pathological inquiries in viticulture and forestry. Currently, i am working in the ar of sugar sugar beet cultivation, in ~ the institute of Sugar beet Research, where I likewise teach scientific writing and also enjoy break down facility subjects so the students can understand them.

Anne-Katrin Mahlein

Anne-Katrin Mahlein

I study plant-pathogen interactions and also ways come visualize facility reactions going on within plants, with optical sensors and also digital technologies. In ~ the academy of Sugar sugar beet Research, my team and also I space responsible for emerging innovative sugar beet growing practices. This considers all aspects of street beet and also table street production, prefer yield and also quality forming, and plant diseases and also protection. Therefore, we use contemporary machines, sensors, robots, analyzing tools, field, and also laboratory studies.

Young Reviewers


Age: 9

I flourished up in Spain however now i live in Vienna. I deserve to speak in German, English, and also Spanish. Mine favorite subject at college is Maths and also my favorite sport is football (soccer for Americans).


Plants produce sugar and also oxygen in a procedure called photosynthesis, by utilizing sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. This is an essential process top top Earth, due to the fact that it clears carbon dioxide indigenous the air and provides food because that us. Photosynthesis happens in little compartments within the plant cells, dubbed chloroplasts. In a two-step process, plants obtain chemical energy from sunlight. The gathered energy is supplied in a second reaction to develop the street glucose. Glucose is merged with fructose, i beg your pardon is fruit sugar, to create sucrose, our renowned table sugar. Street beets take it ~7 month to grow and provide ~32% the the world’s table street production. Together they grow, they need to be protected from weeds and also diseases. When they have grown sufficiently, the street beets have the right to be harvested and processed in a sugar factory to acquire table sugar.

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Sugar is developed by Plants

A dessert after having lunch or chocolate from our grandparents renders us smile. This is because our brains need one the the ingredients in this sweet foods. We are talking about table sugar, which is additionally called sucrose. Sucrose is make from two easier sugars: glucose and fructose. But where walk glucose come from? In contrast to humans and also other animals, tree can produce glucose through a procedure known together photosynthesis. The eco-friendly parts that plants usage sunlight, water, and the gas carbon dioxide native the air to create glucose and also oxygen. In law so, the plants produce energy and also ensure the we have the right to breathe fresh, oxygen-rich air. However how carry out plants themselves advantage from photosynthesis and also the manufacturing of glucose? Glucose deserve to be supplied as a chemical structure block and also as an power supplier. Plants usage glucose come live and grow. For both plants and also humans, glucose is favor the fuel for a machine.

Plants produce sugar in your leaves, but these leaves carry out not taste sweet. The is since the street does not stay in the leaves. Plants use sugar to grow, and it may also be transported to the roots, seeds, stalks, or fruit for storage. We learnt already that sugar might exist as straightforward sugars, choose glucose or fructose, or together a dual sugar, choose sucrose. But there are additionally sugars in which thousands of sugar molecules are attached together to form an enormous unit, favor starch. All these various sugars room a form of nutrients referred to as carbohydrates (Table 1).

Table 1 - Some develops of carbohydrates in plants.

Many plants store their street in the type of starch, like potatoes. Others save sugar in the form of fructose or glucose in your fruits, prefer apples and oranges. Part plants store high concentrations of sucrose. High-sucrose tree are grew for the table street we usage to make our very delicious sweets. Worldwide, street beets and also sugar cane are the main plants that develop sugar. Street cane needs warmth temperatures (25–30°C) come grow, so this chop is grown in subtropical and tropical regions, choose Brazil and India. Today, sugar beets space the main crop for sugar production in temperate climates (15–25°C), specifically in Western, Central, and Eastern Europe, and also in the united States, China, and also Japan.

Light, Carbon Dioxide, and Water: the resources of Energy and Sweetness

For photosynthesis, the eco-friendly parts the plants space important. Leaves are green since they contain structures dubbed chloroplasts, which have actually a eco-friendly pigment, dubbed chlorophyll (Figure 1). Photosynthesis has actually two main steps. In the first step, sunshine shines top top the leaves and also the light power is gathered by the chlorophyll in the chloroplasts. The accumulated light power gets converted into chemical energy and also stored in energy-storing molecules. Oxygen is likewise produced throughout this process, and also is released by the plants <1>. In the 2nd step that photosynthesis, carbon dioxide native the wait enters the leaves through very small openings. Using the previously stored chemistry energy, the chloroplasts convert carbon dioxide right into glucose <1>. Fructose is likewise produced during this step. Glucose is then combined with furustos to produce sucrose.

Figure 1 - A simplified illustration of photosynthesis.Inside the chloroplasts within leaves, light, water (H2O), and also carbon dioxide (CO2) are transformed right into energy and also sugar (glucose). Making use of water, sunshine is converted into energy-storing molecules in ~ the tree cells. The energy from this molecules is then supplied to develop glucose indigenous CO2.

What is a street Beet?

People have always found substances to sweeten food. But, in cool climates, sugar was luxury product for countless years. In 1747, the German chemist Andreas Sigismund Marggraf discovered that beets produce the same sugar as sugar cane. His student occurred a technical procedure to extract the street from beets. The an initial sugar factory became operational in 1802. Soon, plenty of sugar factory were constructed all end Europe.

The sugar beet plant (called Beta vulgaris in Latin) has actually bright eco-friendly leaves in a rosette pattern and a cone-shaped, white, fleshy root (Figure 2). The beet root is the storage organ, include 75% water, ~20% sugar, and structural components that are called pulp.

Figure 2 - completely developed sugar sugar beet plant.The below-ground component is the warehouse organ, called the taproot, which has actually hairy roots to absorb water and nutrients. The above-ground part consists that the foliage, which consists of numerous leaves arranged in a rosette-like pattern.

Cultivation of street Beets

Cultivation of crops may look at simple, yet this is no true if you want to flourish crops huge enough to feed many people. Permit us have actually a watch at how sugar beets are grew (Figure 3). Our trip starts with the sugar beet seed. The seeds room sown once the soil has actually warmed up, generally in March/April. One sugar sugar beet seed naturally develops into numerous plants. Until the 1970s, the unnecessary plants essential to be removed by hand so the the beets were not too crowded, which was strenuous and time-consuming work. Then, plant breeders had a breakthrough and also introduced seeds that develop only a solitary seedling. Particle breeders the make sugar beet seeds coat the seeds v pesticides that protect seedlings against diseases and pests. The coated sugar beet seed is called the pill, and the pills often have various colors depending on the breeder (Figure 3A).

Figure 3 - Sugar beet cultivation.(A) In spring, street beet seed (shown below as pills, which space seeds coated greatly with substances to safeguard the seedling versus diseases and also pests) room sown in a row. (B,C) Young sugar beets seedlings emerge and also grow. (D) once nine or more leaves have unfolded, a taproot forms and grows underground to save the sugar. During this “growth period,” specifically fungal parasites must be controlled, which have the right to inhibit the photosynthesis. (E) In western and main Europe, the beets space harvested beginning in September. (F) Beets space stored as a pile dubbed a clamp on the ar border, till they are carried to a factory for sugar extraction. Along the bottom, you can see the procedures of sugar beet farming for sugar production and also the time span, i beg your pardon is really crucial to safeguard sugar beets against, weed, insects, and also fungal parasites.

When the seeds germinate, little roots and two seeds leaves, referred to as cotyledons, arise (Figure 3B). From this allude on, the young sugar sugar beet plant need to be protected from weeds, due to the fact that weeds contend for sunlight and soil nutrients. Farmers can control the weeds with a hoe or have the right to use herbicides, which are chemicals that kill the weeds. If the farmer does not manage the weeds, the tiny beets will be overtaken and also the chop yield deserve to be diminished by as much as 80% <2>. Beets perform not only need to fight against competing weeds. Lock are also attacked by insects. Beet-attacking insects can be separated into two groups: those the directly damages the plant and also those the transmit famous diseases. The green peach insect (Myzus persicae), for example, can transmit a virus leading to a yellowing that the sugar beet leaves, i m sorry inhibits photosynthesis and reduces street production.

Beets need to Be Protected against Fungal Diseases

After the sugar sugar beet plant has emerged nine or much more leaves, the “beet” or underground warehouse organ, is formed. Sucrose created in the pipeline is save on computer in the beet. The sunnier the summer, the more sugar can be developed via photosynthesis. During this time, the leaves need to be protected versus fungal diseases, due to the fact that only healthy and balanced leaves can perform photosynthesis. The most widespread and destructive condition of sugar beet leaves is led to by a fungus v the Latin name Cercospora beticola. In ~ first, only small circular dark spots with a reddish border space visible, yet the fungus produce a toxicity substance the destroys the sheet tissue and ends increase killing large areas or even entirety leaves. The fungus supplies the dead tissue as resource of nutrition <3>. The disease can be reduced by cultivating sugar beets just every 3 years and also growing various other plants, prefer cereals, in the years in between <3>. This an approach is called chop rotation. Farmer can also use new Cercospora-tolerant sugar sugar beet varieties, which can better tolerate the an illness <3>. If the fungus has already attacked the street beets severely, fungicides, which room chemical substances that protect plants against fungal infestations, deserve to be pce on the plants. Researchers space investigating brand-new technologies to reduce the usage of fungicides. Because that example, through using distinct cameras and computer systems, the plant conditions can be predicted much previously than they deserve to by the naked eye, and farmers deserve to use fungicides in a an ext targeted way <4>. This is also important come protect useful animals, which have a habitat in sugar sugar beet fields, like the peewit, various other birds nesting on the ground, hares or rabbits and also insects like beetles, such as the lady beetle. However, the sugar beet is no flowering as soon as grown for sugar production, hence sugar beet fields are no attractive to honey, wild or bumble bees.

Harvesting and also Extracting the Sugar

In the autumn, once the plants space done growing, the sugar beet harvest starts. The leaves of the street beets room removed and the beets are lifted native the floor by sugar beet harvesters, plenty of of which have the right to harvest six rows all at once (Figure 3E). The leaves remain on the ar as a natural fertilizer. The street beets are accumulated in a pile, dubbed a beet clamp (Figure 3F), whereby they await processing. The sugar beets are slowly harvested and transported to factory so the the factories have the right to continuously receive and procedure sugar beets throughout this time. In the factories, street is extracted from the beets utilizing water, lime, heat, and also knowledge that physics. ~ above average, six to seven sugar beets are needed to produce 1 kg sugar (~2.2 lbs), which is a crop area of around 1 m2.

Today, nearly all components of the sugar beet plants are supplied within a sustainable, closed circle. In addition to sugar, other commodities made from sugar beet include animal feed, bioethanol and also biogas.

What Did us Learn?

In this article, girlfriend learned a lot about sugar beets: how they grow, how they produce sugar, the pests and also diseases they face, and how they are harvested. Sugar beet farming is extremely crucial because, it offers ~32% the the world’s table sugar production and also it is the just high-sucrose crop, which have the right to be grew in warm regions.


Photosynthesis: The procedure green plants use to produce energy, in the type of sugar, indigenous sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide.

Chloroplast: small structures inside pipeline that conduct photosynthesis.

Chlorophyll: Pigments within chloroplasts that absorb the light energy from sunlight.

Pesticides: Substances supplied to defend crops versus weeds, fungal pathogens, and also pests.

Pill: Sugar beet seed, i beg your pardon is coated through a layer of various substances, mostly to safeguard the seedling against diseases and also pests.

Cotyledon: The first two leaves that emerge from the seed after sowing.

Beet Clamp: heap of gathered and cleaned street beets, without leaves, generally on the field border.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that the research study was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that can be interpreted as a potential dispute of interest.

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The authors thank Maximilian Müllender for careful proofreading the the manuscript and helpful comments.


<2> Cousens, R. 1985. A simple model relating yield loss to weed density. Ann. Appl. Biol. 107:239–52. Doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7348.1985.tb01567.x

<4> Mahlein, A.-K., Kuska, M. T., Behmann, J., Polder, G., and also Walter, A. 2018. Hyperspectral sensors and imaging technologies in phytopathology: state that the art. Ann. Rev. Phytopathol. 56:535–58. Doi: 10.1146/annurev-phyto-080417-050100