About the Webinar
Mill mud is a by-product of the sugar industry and Queensland mills produce about 1.7 million tonnes per year. Mill mud is the filter cake that is isolated from the sugarcane juice after clarification and contains fertile topsoil, plant waxes, sugar, fibre and other compounds. This mud contains notable levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon, as well as notable levels of potassium when blended with boiler ash, and so is recycled back to local growers as a soil ameliorant or amendment. Since implementation of the Reef Protection Act of 2009, legislative change has called for more stringent management and reporting of the nutrient loadings of all amendments. If farming practices are to be more precise, compliance will soon require that mill mud nutrient loadings be more accurately known. Unfortunately, wet chemical analysis of mill mud would require inordinate costs in both time and money to millers and growers. Hence, it is key that rapid measurement techniques be developed to ensure mill mud can continue to be used as a soil amendment in an increasingly regulated environment. In 2013, Eloise Keeffe and co-workers successfully demonstrated that near infrared (NIR) is capable of rapidly measuring the nutrient content of mill mud. In the current study, we move the analysis to the sugarcane mill and perform NIR measurements of mill mud at line, with plans to move online. This webinar presents both the challenges and progress made toward developing and implementing an online analysis system capable of measuring the nutrients in mill mud thus far.
Dr Heidi du Clou (PhD, BSc (Hons) Chemistry, BSc Chemistry cum laude)
Dr Heidi du Clou holds nine years of experience in R&D in the South African sugar industry. Her PhD successfully unravelled the structure of and identified niche applications for a novel biopolymer cultured from a microbial fungal pathogen of sugarcane. Throughout her career, she has been involved in and led a variety of adaptive and strategic sugar-related research projects. These projects covered areas of milling efficiency, sugar quality, product diversification and value addition and have yielded several publications and awards. Dr du Clou brings to her role numerous skills with expertise in analytical chemistry, polysaccharides and sugar quality.