SASTA Laboratory Manual

including the Official Methods


ISBN 978-0-620-43586-4 

5th Edition, August 2009




BM Schoonees-Muir          Sugar Milling Research Institute

MA Ronaldson                  Private Consultant to SASTA

G Naidoo                         South African Sugar Association – Cane Testing Service

PM Schorn                       Tongaat-Hulett Sugar Limited – Technical Engineering Group


A special thank you goes to John Oxley for the enormous help with the Analytical Methods.


Thanks are also due to Lumko Yeko (Pongola, Laboratory Manager), Thumba Israel (Hulett’s Refinery, Laboratory Manager) and Lucky Msomi (Noodsberg, Refinery Tester) for help with the new refinery methods (Section 12).


SASTA endeavors to promote improvement in the accuracy and rational standardization of methods of factory chemical control. This has been an integral part of the Association’s activities since its inception in 1926 and is the responsibility of the Factory Control Advisory Committee under the auspices of the SASTA Council.


Publication of the methods used for factory control in South Africa has been the flagship SASTA publication since 1962 and more recently also includes the Official Methods as referred to in the Sugar Act. The 4th edition of the SASTA Laboratory Manual was published in electronic format in 2005, an innovative way of integrating with the electronic age and computerisation of our factory laboratories.


The 5th edition was launched in August 2009 and includes all new definitions and methodologies, such as the calculations involved in mud recycling to a diffuser, that have been introduced to the industry in the last number of years. The manual also includes the Official Methods for the use of NIR polarimetry for unleaded pol analyses in cane payment as well as NIR spectroscopy used on final molasses, a novel method for the indirect but rapid analysis of multiple parameters in a single scan.


A new section has been created in the analytical methods to incorporate methods used in a back-end or standalone refinery. These products include refinery melt and liquor, refinery massecuites, run-offs and filter cake and the methods cover pol, Brix, purity, pH, conductivity, colour, reducing sugars, starch and calcium oxide (lime).


With the introduction of the manual in electronic format, it has become much easier and cost effective to issue updated versions. It is the intention of SASTA to keep the manual up to date, and reviews of the manual will take place every four to five years.