Sugar beet

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Sugar beet, a cultivated plant of Beta vulgaris, is a plant whose root contains a high concentration of sucrose. It is grown commercially for sugar production.

The sugar comes from the tuber of the beetroot plant, chard and fodder beet, all descended by cultivation[clarification needed] from the sea beet.

The European Union, the United States, and Russia are the world's three largest sugar beet producers,[1] although only the European Union and Ukraine are significant exporters of sugar from beets. The U.S. harvested 1,004,600 acres (4 065 km²) of sugarbeets in 2008 alone.[2] Beet sugar accounts for 30% of the world's sugar production.

Contents

Culture

Sugar beet is a hardy biennial plant that can be grown commercially in a wide variety of temperate climates. During its first growing season, it produces a large (1–2 kg) storage root whose dry mass is 15–20% sucrose by weight. If the plant is not harvested at this time, then during its second growing season, nutrients in the root will be used to produce flowers and seeds and the root will decrease in size. In commercial beet production, the root is harvested after the first growing season.

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