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Sulfitation (Third Saturation)

The clear juice filtered from the second carbonation flow, now a light straw color, has sulfur dioxide gas added to it in a process often called “Third Saturation”. This gas is added at about 120 to 200 pounds per million pounds of juice, in which it rapidly dissolves. Its purpose is to inhibit the Maillard Reaction, a reaction between sugar and residual amino acids in the juice during heating steps, which would normally produce a dark brown color. This is the reaction that causes the crust of bread to turn brown during baking. The reaction is desirable in bread, however, not desirable in white sugar production. The residual sulfur dioxide remaining in white sugar is below 10 ppm. The sulfitation process, therefore, slows the browning process during the subsequent concentration and crystallization processes. The juice at this stage in the process is called thin juice.

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