ISSCT runs regular webinars on a variety of topics related to sugar cane and technology. 

Upcoming Webinars

ISSCT Molecular Biology Webinar

Tuesday 2 August 2022

11 a.m. GMT 

Entomology Webinar

“Advances in Proactive and Non-chemical Sugarcane Insect Management”

Thursday 18 August 2022

11:00 AM GMT

As part of the series of Webinars that will be organized by the ISSCT in 2022 for its different disciplines, the Entomology Webinar of the Biology Commission will be held on Thursday 18 August 2022 from 11:00 AM GMT to 2:00 PM GMT.


The Registration Form for the Webinar may be accessed through the following link:


The Webinar is only open to compliant members of ISSCT. When you register for the webinar, your registration will be checked against ISSCT membership and payment records, and you will receive an e-mail with the meeting details (Username and Password to access the Webinar). If you have outstanding membership dues, you will be asked to pay these online before your registration is approved. The Individual Membership dues are USD 140 and may be settled through the following link:



Introduction by Julien Beuzelin, Chair ISSCT Entomology Section

  • From Endemic to Exotic Pests of Sugarcane – Preparing for the Unexpected. Kevin Powell, Sugar Research Australia, Meringa, Queensland, Australia

Abstract: The Australian sugarcane industries major insect pests are the canegrubs, comprising 20 species. Most of the species are endemic and have been controlled primarily using insecticides. However, the industry relies solely on the use of a single neonicotinoid, imidacloprid, for control of the larvae. This product has been used for two decades and has been very successful. However, neonicotinoids are under scrutiny and other alternatives including biorationals are being explored. Screening of such alternatives needs to occur to provide sufficient scientific evidence of efficacy, persistence and reduced environmental consequences. In Australia, a new 4-year research project is currently focusing on developing rapid in situ and in field screening methods to improve the selection of sustainable alternatives to imidacloprid.

In 2012 a newly described cane disorder called Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS) was described from Cairns in Far North Queensland. Despite multiple research projects the direct cause of YCS has yet to be determined. However, there is increasing evidence, most notably from both insecticide and variety trials, that invertebrates are likely to be involved in YCS expression. Recent studies on YCS have utilised novel and existing sampling procedures to determine which invertebrates are likely to be involved and how climatic conditions impact their abundance. These studies have highlighted for the first time not only potential invertebrates involved in YCS but also the diversity of invertebrates present in the sugarcane ecosystem. Some of the effective monitoring methods developed will be utilised to ensure that future management approaches are utilised only as and when required.

With the exception of canegrubs, the Australian Sugarcane industry has relatively few endemic pests of economic significance but due to its close proximity to other cane growing countries is at risk of exotic pest incursions through either wind dispersal or movement of infested plant material. Strict biosecurity regulations and regular monitoring in Far North Queensland have so far limited this risk. However, the fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, was detected in 2020 in Queensland and is now established in various Australian states. FAW has so far caused no economic loss to cane but this incursion highlights the risk of future exotic Lepidopteran incursions such as sugarcane moth borers. Australia is also concerned about potential future incursions of Hemipteran vectors of pathogens. The focus of Australian research on exotic pest threats has included both on shore and offshore work (with collaborators in Asia and the Pacific) on preparedness including optimising diagnostic and detection techniques and incursion management approaches.

An overview of the SRA entomology research program and its highlights in relation to endemic and exotic pests and their sustainable management will be provided.

  • From Augmentative Biological Control to Conservation Efforts in Colombia. Germán Vargas, Centro de Investigación de la Caña de Azúcar de Colombia, Cali, Colombia

Abstract: The sugarcane stem borers, Diatraea spp., are considered the most important pests in sugarcane in Colombia and management is achieved by releasing egg and larva parasitoids. In general, Diatraea saccharalis, is the species with the widest distribution in the Western Hemisphere and can be found infesting sugarcane from the U.S. to Argentina. In Colombia, the main species in sugarcane are D. saccharalis, distributed all over the country; D. indigenella, recorded in western regions, D. busckella, found all over the country; D. lineolata, recorded in the departments of Tolima, Magdalena, Valle and Choco; and D. tabernella, registered in western areas of Colombia and relatively recently in the Cauca River Valley (CRV).

In many sugarcane growing areas in the neotropics, the main component for pest management has been biological control since the introduction of Lixophaga diatraeae from Cuba to Louisiana in 1915, which, even though unsuccessful, was followed by several successful examples in other countries in the region. In Colombia, there have been efforts towards the biological control of Diatraea spp. since the early 1970s. Trichogramma spp. were the first parasitoids to be released, followed by releases of Cotesia flavipes that did not show adaptation to the conditions of the CRV and by the importation several tachinid flies. Some parasitoids showed interesting results whereas others never adapted to the Colombian conditions and particularly to the CRV, which is the most industrialized sugarcane growing area of the country. After the 1980s and up to this date, the study of losses under the CRV conditions, population dynamics, sampling procedures, and alternative methods of control has contributed to the development of a biological control program that has allowed to respond to unexpected population changes and to keep Diatraea spp. at population levels minimizing their economic impact. 

This presentation will provide an overview of sugarcane stem borer ecology under the conditions of the CRV in Colombia and discuss the experiences accumulated over four decades of implementing augmentation biological control as the main tool of IPM. This presentation will also discuss possible future actions to face climate change and changes in production practices while promoting conservation biological control. In this regard, the behaviour of the wild larval parasitoid of sugarcane borers in Colombia, Genea jaynesi, was observed under manipulation of broadleaf flowering weeds growing on field edges. It was found that conservation of broadleaf flowering plants was associated with higher abundance of G. jaynesi adults. In addition, field collections of Diatraea spp. larvae across the CRV between 2015 and 2019 revealed that 50% of all parasitized individuals of the four borer species (D. saccharalis, D. indigenella, D. busckella and D. tabernella) were attacked by G. jaynesi; indicating its importance and prevalence in the natural regulation of these pests. A series of concerted efforts have been implemented to demonstrate to sugarcane growers the advantages of maintaining plant shelters, hedge rows, and areas of preservation as source of food for natural enemies and conserving associated fauna to promote conservation biological control as an alternative to augmentation biological control for a more environmentally friendly sugarcane production system.

  • A Novel Approach to the Sterile Insect Technique for Eldana saccharina Management in South Africa. Lawrence Malinga, South African Sugarcane Research Institute, Mount Edgecombe, South Africa

Abstract: In South Africa, the stalk borer Eldana saccharina (eldana) is an indigenous pest that significantly reduces sugarcane yield. Severe economic losses due to eldana in the South African sugarcane industry are estimated at approximately US$60 million annually. Researchers at the South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) have conducted research over many years to develop tools to enable sugarcane growers to sustainably manage this pest according to integrated pest management principles, with the sterile insect technique (SIT) being one of these tools.

SIT is a species-specific and environmentally benign method of insect control that depends on the release of sterile insects. The success of the SIT programme around the world can be ascribed to the fact that it has been based on an understanding of the developmental stages, behaviour, and population dynamics of the target species. Before embarking on area-wide integrated pest management programmes involving suppression of insect pests using SIT, consideration of the technical and economic feasibility of the approach is essential.

The SIT is commonly implemented by releasing partially sterile male insects into the wild. These partially sterile males then compete with wild males for mating with the wild females. After mating, the wild females that mated with the sterile male will produce some fertilized F1 eggs. F1 generation adults in the field are then sterile, and this is known as F1-inherited sterility. This will result in the eradication, reduction, containment, or prevention of the targeted pest population. Irradiation of the insects is done using gamma-ray or x-ray that irradiates the insects’ reproductive cells.

SASRI has been involved in the rearing of eldana since the 1970s, and for nearly two decades, the institute has been conducting SIT research on eldana control. Due to the unavailability of a nearby irradiation facility, SASRI is pioneering a novel approach to SIT. Instead of irradiating moths and releasing these directly, as in traditional SIT, the first-generation offspring are mass-reared and released. Significant progress has been made in understanding the factors and variables affecting the quality and the field performance of released moths. Valuable lessons learned from the preliminary SIT research have revealed that: (i) male moths irradiated at the dose of 200 Gy are as sexually competitive as wild males; (ii) the F1 population has a desirable male bias and greater ‘fitness’ than its irradiated parent; (iii) long-distance transportation for irradiation has no impact on pupal emergence; and (iv) weekly release of sterile F1 male moths in controlled cages reduces eldana populations and their damage to sugarcane. With a successful proof of concept, the SIT programme has the potential to be a viable control measure for eldana in sugarcane production.

  • Bt Sugarcane in Brazil: Development, Efficacy Evaluation, Commercial Implementation, and Future Perspectives. Caroline Sakuno, Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira, Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil

Abstract: Sugarcane is cultivated on about 26 million ha in more than 100 countries worldwide and Brazil is the largest producer of sugarcane, with a projected contribution of 37% to the world’s production by 2028. The production of this crop has increased in recent decades and consequently, losses from attacks by the sugarcane borer, Diatraea saccharalis, the main pest of the crop, have also increased. In 2017, the Center of Sugarcane Technology (Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira [CTC], Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil) released commercially the first genetically modified (GM) sugarcane variety in Brazil. This variety, CTC20BT, produces the Cry1Ab protein for the control of D. saccharalis.

The commercial process to develop a GM crop has been broadly established through the last decades after the first GM crop approval in 1994. This process has continuously evolved to adapt to technological advances, such as genome editing tools. A commercial pipeline to develop a GM crop includes five phases: I) gene discovery: prospect and evaluate candidate genes for desirable traits, II) proof of concept: vector design, crop transformation and transgene tests for agronomic features and efficacy (greenhouse and field), III) early development: commercially transformation and selection of events with the desirable trait and equivalent of superior characteristics as the conventional crop variety, IV) advanced development: risk assessment studies and dossier preparation and V) pre-launch: regulatory submission, product development, and pre-marketing.

Since the first release, four sugarcane varieties have been approved commercially. To confirm the efficacy of this material, we conducted evaluations under field and greenhouse conditions using natural and artificial infestations with D. saccharalis, which showed evidence of control of the borer. In addition, bioassays with fresh leaf tissues and 25-fold dilution bioassays were performed in the laboratory throughout the crop cycle. Molecular mechanisms involved in cry resistant plants were accessed by global expression analysis (RNAseq) indicating differentially expressed pathways involved in the induction of proteins related to insect defence. Assessment of environmental effects of Bt sugarcane by analysis of soil microbial communities showed that the use of GM plants did not affect the structure and diversity of these communities, further emphasizing the biosafety of Bt sugarcane. These proof-of-concept studies allowed the assessment of efficiency in embryogenesis and plant regeneration, transformation efficiency, control efficiency and recovery of events, and performance relative to conventional sugarcanes indicating the reliability of Bt technology for this crop.

Lessons from the use of other Bt crops have provided clear evidence that implementing an effective insect resistance management (IRM) strategy is the key to delaying the evolution of resistance. Therefore, since the commercial launch, monitoring has been conducted using sentinel plots and F2 screen to detect resistant genotypes in field insect populations. In addition to the frequent monitoring of commercial technologies, efforts are currently focused on the launch of new varieties with new modes of action, resistance to other pest complexes, and tolerance to herbicides. Thus, the result of these technologies is a lower production cost compared to conventional sugarcane, meeting the industry’s demand for higher quality and yield.

The facilitators are:

Julien Beuzelin (University of Florida, USA), Cecilia Easdale (Ledesma, Argentina), and Nichanun Kernasa (Kasetsart University, Thailand).


Q&A Session



The Webinar will be conducted in English.


Further information

For further information, please contact Julien Beuzelin at jbeuzelin@ufl.edu or the ISSCT Secretariat at issct@intnet.mu

Please click here for short biodata on the presenters

Past Webinars

ISSCT Germplasm & Breeding Section Webinar

Technology use in advancing progress in Germplasm use for the development of improved cane varieties

Thursday 7 July 2022

11 a.m. GMT

As part of the series of Webinars that are being organized by the ISSCT in 2022 for its different disciplines, the Germplasm & Breeding Section Webinar will be held on Thursday 7 July 2022 at 11 a.m. GMT.


Introduction by Goolam Badaloo, Chair ISSCT Germplasm and Breeding Section

Guest Speaker

Addressing limits to faster progress in sugarcane breeding, with special reference to using genomic data

By Phil Jackson, Honorary Fellow, CSIRO, Australia

Sugarcane breeding programmes worldwide follow a generally similar overall recurrent breeding cycle and strategy, which has been relatively stable in many programmes for many decades.  However, this cycle and strategy has some major constraints to faster gains which may becoming increasingly important, and this will be explained.   At the same time, the application of DNA markers has for at least 30 years been touted to attain faster progress in sugarcane breeding, but significant impact on actual cultivar development appears still yet to widely happen.  Problems and complications in the past in application of DNA markers to sugarcane breeding, and important lessons learnt to date, will be briefly reviewed in the presentation.  However, it will be argued that past problems have been largely overcome with on-going advances in technology and knowledge, such that obtaining and using genomic data could likely significantly, and cost effectively, now speed up gains in sugarcane breeding programmes.  This view will be detailed in relation to the constraints in the traditional sugarcane breeding cycle previously described.  Some potential future trends in genomics technologies with relevance to sugarcane breeding will also be outlined.

Use of latest analytical tools in simplifying variety selection at advanced stages in Mauritius

By Deepack Santchurn, MSIRI, Réduit, Mauritius

With the advent of computers in the 1960s, the Mauritius Sugarcane Industry Research Institute (MSIRI) was among the first to automate data recording, statistical analysis and selection. Modules were developed that integrated ANOVA techniques to analyse advanced selection trials involving individual and combined crop cycles within locations. Those automated analyses represented a major breakthrough towards fast generation of objective statistical results. These modules are still being used in the analysis and interpretation of selection data. At the advanced variety evaluation trials, each genotype from each trial is scrutinised individually and the available t-differences compared to commercial checks to help to identify the best varieties within trials. Adaptation to different agro-climates, stability analysis of new varieties and ratooning ability are, however, determined through a synthesis of observations across trials using direct differences between individual test genotypes and the commercial controls. These approaches are lengthy, cumbersome and, generally, highly demanding in terms of manpower and assimilation capacity of breeders. In recent years, new statistical techniques involving Spatial analysis, Biplots and Linear Mixed Model (LMM) analyses have been progressively used in controlling variability in field, combining different sets of trials data and interpretation of genotype by environment interactions (GEI). At the MSIRI, attempt has been made to run combined analysis of all advanced variety trials implemented in the last decade using LMM algorithm and compare the results with the conventional approach. The preliminary models used included all pre-conceivable genetic and environmental main effects prevailing in Mauritius and all first and second order interactions. The results looked highly promising as not only the best screened promising varieties using conventional method appeared in the top list but also the ranking and genetic gain with released commercial varieties could be assessed. The analysis also provided a range of GEI outputs that would alternatively take considerable time and resources to determine. The preliminary model will be refined in due course and run in parallel with the conventional approach in the near future until the best and parsimonious model reflecting the local conditions is obtained and adopted. The new techniques available remain fundamental in further improving breeding and selection efficiency at the MSIRI.

New and old technology to improve breeding
1Sugar Research Australia, 71378 Bruce Highway, Gordonvale Qld, 2 30962 Bruce Highway, Brandon Qld, 3 26135 Peak Downs Highway, Mackay Qld, 4 B314 Pashleys Road Bundaberg North Qld

Jason Eglinton1, Felicity Atkin1, Fengduo Hu2, Xianming Wei3, George Piperidis3 and Roy Parfitt4
By George Piperidis, SRA, Australia

Plant breeding is the largest single investment made by SRA on behalf of the Australian sugarcane industry. Varieties are one of the most tangible and highly valued R&D outputs, and levy payers expect an enduring pipeline of improved varieties which make a significant contribution to increasing productivity and profitability. The market share of new varieties was 36% of commercial production in 2005 and steadily decreased to 3% in 2020. A total of 71 new varieties were released during that period. This has resulted in people thinking there is a variety adoption problem, accompanied by criticism of variety release decision making, appropriateness of variety performance information, variety marketing, and clean seed programmes. Improvements in these key parts of the adoption pipeline can (and are) being made but they are not the root cause of the low market share of new varieties. Adoption rates of Q240A in the Central and Burdekin regions, and adoption speed of Q253A in the Herbert and Northern regions demonstrate that the current system does support successful adoption for varieties with improved performance. The reality is that most of the 71 varieties released did not offer growers a better value proposition. There was no single factor responsible for the modest performance of plant breeding during this period. The incursion of smut disease had a significant impact on the germplasm pool and parent selection, and added a new breeding target, however work on incorporating smut resistance started over 20 years ago. There were important changes in personnel appointed to plant breeder positions which can impact genetic gain. The breeding programme had also operated under a highly formulaic approach that was unchanged for a very long time. A technical review in 2017 defined a significant change plan to systematically improve genetic gain and develop better varieties.  These changes will be detailed in the presentation.

The Confirmation of the Status of Elite Parents for Brix within the Variety Improvement programme at WICSCBS

By Morexa Martin-Gardiner, West Indies Central Sugar Cane Breeding Station (WICSCBS, Barbados)

With every batch of crosses made at the West Indies Central Sugar Cane Breeding Station (WICSCBS), attention is given to identifying parents which seem to show signs of high general combining ability based on the rate at which their progeny/families are identified as superior.  Parents that consistently contribute to good selections are identified as elite and are tagged as such in our database thus given priority for use in crosses. The study was designed to determine whether the elite label is a genuine indicator of superiority.  It is generally accepted that under normal circumstances, the progeny mean should be distributed about the mid-parent value.  For the purposes of this study, a parent will be considered truly elite if the distribution of the progeny is superior to the mid-parent value. A trial was planted containing crosses made using elite parents. Each batch of crosses were planted in 3 replicates, each containing 200 seedlings.  The individual parents were also planted in each block.  The seedlings and parents were Brixed for each of 3 crop cycles.   Observations on vigour were also recorded. Scatter plots were prepared for each family with a line inserted to indicate the mid-parent value.

Benefits of Mixed Models in Sugarcane Breeding
By Jean Yves Hoarau (eRcane, Réunion Island)


The use of Linear Mixed Models (LMM) and its Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) methodology is becoming increasingly popular with a broad community of research scientists. Development of computer power and user-friendly statistical software allows them to be used more frequently. This presentation will give an overview of the benefits of the flexible LMM/BLUP framework to analyse experimental data collected in sugarcane breeding programmes to make efficient breeding and selection decisions, or to study genetic properties of traits of agronomic interest. Several applications of mixed models will be presented. Their common feature is to exploit some co-variances existing between some experimental data. Depending on applications, the nature of co-variances differs and may be related either to spatial, temporal and/or genetic considerations, with possible nested effects. In all cases, the methodology has the advantage of providing unbiased statistical inferences and predictions likely supporting objective conclusions in the scientific issues investigated.

Use of spatial variability and analysis at early selection stages in Brazil
By Danilo Eduardo Cursi1 and Luciana Gonçalves Chaves Castellani1
1Centro de Tecnologia Canavieira, CTC, Brazil

Large experimental trials in early selection stages are often needed to assess progeny and clonal performance in sugarcane breeding programmes. In these stages, spatial variability can be partly controlled by using an appropriate experimental design. Technologies that support the systematic removal of the source of variation in the residual variance have great potential for application in those stages since a small-scale detection would have great potential to improve the selection accuracy. This ability of identify of variation in the field has proved to be useful in cultivar selection experiments. In this presentation, different approaches to model the effects of spatial variability, among them the use of proximal field sensing methods, will be discussed. An increase in the selection accuracy will be presented when environmental covariates from the different approaches are employed as an adjustment method while analysing the genetic potential of each family/genotype under experimentation.

Standing on the shoulders of giants
By Anna Hale and James Todd (USDA-ARS Sugarcane Research Unit, Houma, LA)

In Louisiana, germplasm enhancement has been an integrated component of the sugarcane breeding programme since its infancy.  Through a steady and steadfast approach, incremental increases in sugar yields, disease resistance, cold tolerance, ratooning ability, and yield stability have been achieved through the incorporation of wild germplasm into newly developed parents which are actively utilised in the commercial breeding programme.   All contemporary commercial varieties in Louisiana are derived from the introgression programme, and each successive generation builds on work from the past.  The sugarcane variety HoCP 14-885 was released in 2021 by the USDA-ARS Sugarcane Research Unit in Houma, LA, The American Sugarcane League of the U.S.A., Inc., and the Louisiana State University Agricultural Center.  This variety is early maturing with excellent sugar per hectare, and a good disease package, fibre percent cane, and stalk weight.  It is aggressive with early shading ability and a good planting ratio and harvestability.  Most notable is the excellent ratooning ability of this high early sugar and high tonnage variety. The variety results from introgression events involving multiple Saccharum spontaneum accessions and represents the ongoing impact of the basic breeding programme in Louisiana.

BLUP analysis in sugarcane breeding
By Marvellous Zhou, South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI), South Africa)

Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) was first used in animal breeding to estimate breeding values in animal breeding. BLUP analysis has been used to estimate breeding values in sugarcane breeding. Sugarcane breeding stages in South Africa are Mini-Lines, Single Lines and Variety Trials. Data from Mini-Lines trials are used to determine family and breeding values while that from Single Lines and Variety Trials estimate genetic values used to select genotypes for advancement and commercial release. The objective of this presentation is to demonstrate how BLUP analysis can be applied to analyse cane yield data derived from Mini-Lines, Single Lines and Variety Trials, stages that have equivalents in other sugarcane breeding programmes. Data used for this case study were from irrigated breeding programme trials in South Africa and analysed using SAS software. The Mini Lines BLUP showed significant (P<0.0001) yield differences among families, female (P<0.001) and male parents (P=0.0006) suggesting elite families and parents with higher breeding values can be selected. For Single Lines, there were significant (P<0.0001) BLUP values indicating significant differences among genotypes. For Variety Trials, there were significant (P<0.0001) BLUP values indicating significant genotype differences. Elite families and genotypes showed significant positive values while low yielding families and genotypes produced significant negative values, providing an easy statistic to guide selection. BLUP analysis is a robust method that can be used to analyse unbalanced data due to missing values, partial replication or different number of replications or crop-years in plant breeding trials. BLUP analysis can also be used for analysing data across breeding cycles providing a mechanism to estimate cultivar genetic gains over breeding cycles.

The facilitators/organizers are:

  • Dr Goolam Badaloo, Ag Research Manager, MSIRI, Mauritius
  • Dr Danilo Cursi, CTC, Brazil
  • Dr Marvellous Zhou, SASRI, South Africa
  • Dr Jean Yves Hoarau, CIRAD/eRcane, Réunion
  • and other Germplasm & Breeding Section members


Q&A Session



The Webinar will be conducted in English.


The Registration Form for the Webinar may be accessed through the following link:


The Webinar is only open to compliant members of ISSCT. When you register for the webinar, your registration will be checked against ISSCT membership and payment records, and you will receive an e-mail with the meeting details (Username and Password to access the Webinar). If you have outstanding membership dues, you will be asked to pay these online before your registration is approved. The Individual Membership dues are USD 140 and may be settled through the following link:


Further information

For further information, please contact the ISSCT Germplasm and Breeding Section Chair, Dr Goolam Badaloo (goolam.badaloo@msiri.mu) or the ISSCT Secretariat at issct@intnet.mu

Please click here to access the short biodata on the Presenters.

ISSCT Pathology Section Webinars

Two webinars of approx. 2.5 hour each (including breaks and discussion time) on 23 June and 30 June 2022 from 1:00pm GMT – 3:30pm GMT (times are in Greenwich Mean Time)

Thursday 23 June 2022 – Webinar 1
Theme: Sugarcane streak mosaic virus – research and updates.

  • Chaired by Nicole Thompson (Chair of ISSCT Pathology Section) with presentations by Dr Rob Magarey (Sugar Research Australia) and Dr Jean-Heinrich Daugrois (CIRAD)

Thursday 30 June 2022 – Webinar 2
Theme: Pathogen diagnostics and surveillance.

  • Chaired by Dr Nawshad Joomun (MSIRI) with presentations by Dr Dimitre Mollov (USDA-APHIS) and Dr Nicole Thompson (SRA)

Both webinar series will also allow for country updates and discussion following the formal presentations.

ISSCT Factory Commission Webinar

Tuesday 29 March 2022

11 a.m. German time (GMT+2)

The contribution of the cane sugar industry for decarbonization

As part of the series of Webinars that will be organized by the ISSCT in 2022 for its different disciplines, the first one was held by the Factory Commission on Tuesday 29 March 2022 at 11 a.m. German time (GMT+2, as it will be summer time).

View webinar flyer


Introduction by Boris Morgenroth, Chair ISSCT Engineering Section

Main topics

Drying of bagasse feedstocks

Experiences with low temperature dryers in the cane sugar industry
by Stefan Szymkiewicz & Thomas Kimmenauer

Low temperature dryers are well known for quite a few different drying applications i.e. pressed pulp in the beet sugar industry. During the last years, low temperature dryers have been introduced in China and Thailand on technical scale for bagasse drying. First experiences with such applications for the utilization of process waste heat are described.

Low temperature bagasse dryer applications for fuel saving and power export
by Saiedeh Wicht & Boris Morgenroth

Low temperature dryers offer the potential to utilize waste heat from the process to dry bagasse. This technology is well introduced in the beet sugar and other industries for many decades and has recently also been applied for the cane sugar industry at technical scale. Typically, boiler flue gas, hot water or steam, which otherwise is sent to the condenser are potential heat sources for the dryer. Depending on the availability of waste heat, the bagasse can be dried from ~ 50 % moisture to 35 – 40 % moisture, which fits well to the operation of most conventional bagasse boilers. The increase of calorific value of the bagasse allows producing additional steam, which in return can be utilized either for saving external fuel or improving the power export potential of the factory. Results of different application scenarios are described.


An overview of the role of sugar milling for decarbonisation
by Marguerite Renouf

This presentation aims to give an overarching perspective of the role of sugar milling for decarbonising the cane sugar industry. It will compile findings from previous environmental life-cycle assessment (LCA) studies that have quantified the GHG emission reduction potential from various sugar industry initiatives. The intent will be to show the extent to which sugar mills can contribute to decarbonisation of sugarcane systems, relative to other opportunities across the industry. In particular, it will emphasise the value of initiatives that free up surplus bagasse for the production of bioenergy and bioproducts that displace fossil-fuel combustion.

Contribution potential of the cane sugar industry for decarbonization
by Boris Morgenroth & Stefan Jahnke

The cane sugar industry remains not unaffected by the requirement of decarbonisation in order to counter global warming. While bagasse is basically a “green fuel” for cane sugar factories not causing additional carbon emissions, it is possible to maximise the power export from cane sugar factories what is a direct contribution versus global warming. Maximising the power export requires not only very steam efficient processes but also the application of new technologies like vapour re-compression, heat pumps and efficient bagasse dryer technologies along with boilers which allow to burn dried bagasse. Process schemes allowing to maximise the power export to the national grid are discussed.


Energy management

The predicted effects of swirl spreader combustion system retrofits on bagasse boiler efficiency

by Floren Plaza and A.P. Mann

The retrofitting, commissioning and performance of the relatively new swirl spreader combustion system (~18 years old) into existing boilers has been previously described in several papers.  In particular, it was noted that the swirl spreaders enabled the boiler to achieve high steam throughput with relatively high bagasse moisture content, and little bagasse deposition on the grate.  However, a definite comparison of the efficiency of the boilers was difficult to carry out since other modifications were carried out to the boilers at the same time.  More recently, computational fluid dynamics modelling was carried out to understand the variation in performance of a furnace where conventional spreaders were replaced with swirl spreaders, with a prediction that, for the same fuel and air input rates and temperatures, and a typical furnace with tubes covering most of the walls, a significant increase in heat transfer was predicted to occur in the furnace.  An extension of that work is reported here where the likely overall boiler efficiency improvements are predicted for retrofitting boilers with differing boiler efficiencies.  Some aspects of the effects on the boilers are discussed.

Short Biodata about the Presenters

Short Biodata about the Presenters

Dr Floren Plaza has 30 years’ experience in the sugar industry in the areas of research, equipment design, consulting, reliability and maintenance.  He has expertise in bagasse boilers, including performance measurements and minimising maintenance problems such as convection bank and airheater tube wear, airheater corrosion, and dust emissions.  Dr Plaza has extensive experience in improving the performance of equipment through combined field measurements and computer modelling, including Computational Fluid Dynamics and Structural Analysis.

Dr Anthony Mann is a mechanical engineer who specialises in Computational Fluid Dynamics, combustion modelling and boilers.  He has more than 30 years’ CFD experience, mostly in the area of boiler combustion modelling.  He is the principal author of more than 170 consulting and research reports for Australian and overseas clients.  The consultation work includes CFD modelling of boiler design modifications for reduced tube erosion and dew point corrosion, improved combustion performance and reduced emissions.  He has carried out a number of boiler design evaluations, boiler upgrade studies, boiler circulation analyses and pneumatic conveying system designs.   He is also extensively involved in boiler performance testing and troubleshooting, emission testing, training courses for sugar factory personnel and modelling of pollutant emissions.  Over the last 26 years he has worked on a range of research projects in areas such as boiler combustion modelling (bagasse and coal), gasification, pneumatic cane cleaning, flue gas dryer design, self-heating of bagasse stockpiles, minimising dust emissions, energy audits and process modelling.

Marguerite Renouf is Deputy Director of the Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy at Queensland University of Technology. She is responsible for progressing research that quantifies the environmental performance and resource efficiency of bio-production and agri-food systems to support the strategic development of sustainable and circular production pathways for the future.  Much of her research career over the last 20 years has been directed to evaluating environmental impacts and eco-efficiency opportunities for agri-based production systems (bio-fuels, bio-materials, food and beverages) using environmental life cycle assessment.

Stefan Jahnke, born 1988 in Bonn, Germany, read Mechanical Engineering at the Technical University of Braunschweig, focusing on Energy and Process Engineering and finished his Master’s degree in 2016. Besides his Master studies he joined VTU Engineering Deutschland GmbH as Process Engineer and worked on several projects within the chemical and pharmaceutical industry. From 2016 until 2021 he worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Chemical and Thermal Process Engineering focusing on the performance, wetting behavior and heat transfer in wiped film evaporators at different scales. Since 2022 IPRO Industrieprojekt GmbH employs him as Process Engineer, especially for projects in the sugar industry.

Saiedeh Wicht, born 1995 in Bamberg, Germany, read Biology at the Julius-Maximilian-University of Würzburg, majoring in Biotechnology and finished her Bachelor’s degree in 2018. As part of the biotechnology master’s program at the Technical University of Braunschweig, Saiedeh Wicht is completing her master’s thesis in biotechnology with a focus on process engineering in cooperation with the company IPRO Industrieprojekt GmbH Braunschweig, Germany and the Institute of Chemical and Thermal Process Engineering. The topic of the thesis is the modelling of low-temperature drying in the sugar industry to optimize energy demand and power generation.

Dr Boris Morgenroth, born 1968 in Berlin, Germany, read Sugar Technology at the Berlin Sugar Institute, Technical University Berlin, Department Food Process Technology, and finished his master thesis in 1993. Subsequently, he worked for the Suedzucker Central Office ZAFES with regard to his PhD thesis on evaporator technology, which he completed in 2001 but also for many other sugar companies between 1993 and 1997. In the year 1997 he joined the company Balcke-Duerr on the development and market introduction of the falling film plate evaporator technology. Since 2002 he is working for IPRO Industrieprojekt GmbH, Germany, rendering engineering services for beet and cane sugar factories and refineries worldwide. Since 2014 he is Director of IPRO India Pvt Ltd. Dr. Boris Morgenroth is member of the ISSCT Engineering Section since 1996 and its Chairman since 2013.

“Ambition is the path to success, persistence is the vehicle you arrive in”

Prof. Narendra Mohan, an inspiring teacher, admirable research worker and an esteemed government official having a long and distinguished career of working in sugar industry and at the institute.

In 2013, Prof. Narendra Mohan was appointed as Director of National Sugar Institute, Kanpur, India, one of the prestigious institutes specialized for Sugar, Cogeneration & Ethanol. His career graph mirrors the values of the organization he heads – Professionalism, Education, Consultancy and commitment to take forward the organization. Under his leadership, the organization has overcome multiple challenges, emerged stronger and continues to be the leading institute, recognised globally.

An author of 6 books and more than 130 papers been published in various reputed journals which reflect his passion for innovative work to covert “Waste to Resource.” His devotion towards value addition resulted in development of many cost effective and environment friendly technologies, viz., “Production of Graphene Oxide, Dietary Fibre, Cosmetic Ingredient & Bio-surfactant from Bagasse”,” Production of fortified jaggery” “Production of Bio-CNG from Filter Cake & other Agricultural Waste” and on “Production of flavoured and fortified sugars”.

He has played a pivotal role in converting sugar industry into clean & green industry producing bio-chemicals, other bio-products and bio-energy apart from sugar.

Prof. Mohan is associated with many prestigious scientific societies and organizations viz. ISSCT, ICUMSA, IAPSIT, STAI, DSTA and SISSTA etc. His merit and commendable work carried out for improving productivity of sugar industry has been acknowledged globally for which he has been conferred with many prestigious awards viz. ABP News Award-2018” for excellence in Industrial services, Life Time Achievement Award-2019 for contribution to sugar industry by the Society for Sugar Research & Promotion, Innovative Leader of Asia Award- 2019 for excellence in Industry Development by the Global Leaders Foundation, Best Director of the year award – 2021” for demonstrating a commitment to enhance the education and facilitate best practices and excellence by ISIEINDIA, Exemplary Academic Leader of the Year 2021 Award by CEGR for excellence in providing state of art facilities to the students as well as overall enhancement of education system at National Sugar Institute, Kanpur and many more.

Stefan Szymkiewicz, born 1982 in Albbruck, Germany, read mechanical engineering at Karlsruhe Institute of Technologie (KIT), Germany and finished his master thesis 2008 at MTU Friedrichshafen, Germany. Subsequently he worked for ABB Turbo Systems before he joined W. Kunz dryTec AG in Dintikon, Switzerland, better known as Swiss Combi in 2011 as a project manager. In is work as project manager he was responsible for various low temperature belt dryers (NTT) in the sugar beet industry in Germany and Austria. 2018 he became Member of the Board (COO) at Swiss Combi and his team built in total 9 bagasse NTT’s in Thailand and China with two more NTT’s under construction.

Thomas Kimmenauer, born 1975 in Strasbourg, France, passed a bachelor in chemistry at University Louis Pasteur France and red process engineering at FH Trier, Germany until 2002. Master thesis has been finished in Siemens Industrial Solutions in 2003 simulating and calibrating an anaerobic digestor for a wastewater treatment plant. He joined W. Kunz dryTec AG (Swiss Combi) as a project manager in 2007 mainly executing a project of 3 lines of ecoDry indirect heated drum dryers (drying of DDGS in a biorefinery) in the Europoort Rotterdam, NL. Subsequently he gained experience in the field of business development and sales in the field of investment projects in Europe and China. Since 2020 in the position of Head of Sales and Member of the Board at Swiss Combi and joined the ESST (European Society for Sugar Technology) in 2021.