Concentrations of agronomically important nutrient elements in raw sugar produced in Fiji
Sugar is an important global commodity with about 150 million tonnes produced annually from sugarcane and beet, and a market worth US$30-70 billion per year. The price of sugar varies considerably depending on demand and on quality. Quality of raw sugar is assessed using parameters such as percentage glucose, reducing sugars, dextran, colour, starch, and ash, with all of the inorganic components summarised in this last parameter. Analytical data on individual inorganic components is limited and data on non-toxic elements are rarely reported. This study determined the concentrations of agronomically important elements in raw sugar for Fiji (where no previous data were available) throughout the 2013 crushing season (July-November) for all 4 sugar mills in the country. The results showed average concentrations of N 415, P 23, K 1140, Ca 288, Mg 124, Na 22 and S 214 (mg kg -1 ) with distinct variations between the mills, but very limited seasonal variability. The contribution of sugar exports to the national nutrient budgets was also examined with sugar exports for most elements representing < 10% of fertiliser imports.