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Molasses is a tough ( highly viscous ) dark brown sugar syrup that is a by- product of sugar production from sugar cane , sugar beet and also from sugar millet . In addition to around 60 percent sugar ( sucrose or raffinose ), molasses also contains organic acids, betaine , vitamins and around three percent inorganic salts. The sugar can no longer be crystallized .

Molasses should not be confused with sugar beet syrup , which is obtained by boiling sugar beet. In sugar factories, sugar can be separated from molasses using chromatography . For technical reasons, the molasses has to be softened with ion exchangers . Traditionally, this method is not used in Germany, but it is not uncommon in the USA, France or Austria.


The word molasses was borrowed from French ( mélasse ) and / or Spanish ( melaza ) into German and probably goes back to the Greek melihoney ” via late Latin mellacium “thickened wine, cider syrup” .


Most of the molasses is used in agriculture as direct feed and as a pellet binder for feed pellets for cattle . It is also used as a sugar-containing syrup in a variety of ways in the food industry and is an important fermentation raw material in the field of biotechnology . In Germany, for example, over 780,000 t of molasses were used in the 2006/07 financial year, 530,000 t of which were used for animal feed. In the yeast production about 65,000 tonnes were used and almost 10,000 tonnes went to alcohol distilleries, the remaining 170,000 t used other users.

In the fermentation industry, besides sugar syrup , molasses is the cheapest source of carbohydrates. Fermentation by yeast is currently the main use for molasses alongside the production of bioethanol as a biofuel . Drinking alcohol based on molasses is mainly found in rum , vodka and Indian whiskey . In addition, pure alcohol for industry and medicine is made from molasses. Other fermentation products are glutamic acid as a preliminary product in monosodium glutamate production, citric acid ( biotechnological production ) and a few other products. The residual product of molasses fermentation is vinasse , which can be used for protein enrichment in animal feed or for fertilization.

In the pharmaceutical industry, molasses is used as a nutrient medium for microorganisms for the production of antibiotics (e.g. penicillin ) and in the biotechnological industry for the production of enzymes (e.g. amylases ).

As a food, pure molasses is mostly available in health food stores and health food stores. It can be used as a spread or for baking and has a licorice- like taste. To drink, you can dissolve some molasses in hot water and add a dash of lemon juice.

See also


  • Keyword sucrose molasses. In: Hans Zoebelein (Ed.): Dictionary of Renewable Resources. 2nd edition, Wiley-VCH, Weinheim and New York 1996; Page 286–287. ISBN 3-527-30114-3 .

Web links

Commons : Molasses  - Collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: molasses  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations


  1. Ternes, Täufel, Tunger, Zobel: food dictionary , Behr's Verlag, 2005; ISBN 3-89947-165-2 .
  2. ^ Economic Association Sugar & Association of the Sugar Industry: Annual Report 2007/08. Pp. 26-28.