Sucrose, the most abundant of all sugars, has been produced as a food and sweetener since 2000 BC from the juice in the stem of the sugar cane plant, a perennial tropical grass that originated in the South Pacific. As early as 325 BC sugar cane was cultivated in India from where it spread to the Mediterranian countries, and consequently sugar had gradually replaced honey as the major sweetener in Europe by the 15th century. In 1493 Christopher Columbus took sugar cane from the Canary Islands on his second transatlantic voyage to the Caribbean, the old Spanish Main, thus initiating a vast agricultural industry in the tropics and with it the hideous slave trade for plantation labour. In the mid-16th century sugar was a luxury and cost as much as caviar does today.


Molar Equivalent Acyl Group Migration Sucrose Ester Raney Nickel Selective Esterification 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine E. James
    • 1
  • Leslie Hough
    • 1
  • Riaz Khan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry, King’s College LondonUniversity of LondonLondonUK
  2. 2.Tate and Lyle Research and TechnologyPhilip Lyle Memorial Research LaboratoryWhiteknights, Reading, BerkshireUK

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