Ever wonder where most of our sugar comes from? From the history of sugar beets to their environmental benefits, Laura Rutherford, a mother, marathon runner and farmer explains the top five things you should know about sugar beets in a new column for GMO Answers posted to Medium. You might be surprised by the benefits that a biotech crop like sugar beets offers. We’ve excerpted highlights of the article below.
1) Sugar beets are a Root Crop, and Their Tissue is White (Not Red!)
Sugar beets are a root crop, and flourish in temperate climates where the growing season is about five months long. … Today in the United States, about 57% of domestically produced sugar comes from sugar beets.
2) Regardless of the Source, Sugar is the Same!
The sugar from sugar beets and sugarcane is identical, and is the same as the sucrose found in any other agricultural crop. The molecular structure of the sugar is also the same regardless of whether the sugar was obtained from plants grown with conventional, organic, or precision breeding practices.
3) Growing Genetically Engineered Sugar Beets Has Environmental Benefits
Genetically engineered sugar beets require far fewer pesticides, which in turn, means less water, less fuel and a smaller carbon footprint.
4) Sugar Beets are Grown by Farmer Cooperatives and Processed in 22 Farmer-Owned Factories
In the United States, sugar beets are grown by farmer cooperatives and processed in 22 farmer-owned factories. The sugar beets are planted in the spring and grow throughout the summer.
5) Sugar Beets and Other Bioengineered Crops Are Safe
Crop modification has been going on for centuries and the scientific consensus is that genetically modified crops are safe. No foods have been examined more thoroughly than those derived from biotechnology.
To read the entire post, please visit the GMO Answers page at Medium to learn all about sugar beets, and how genetically modified sugar beets are helping farmers and the environment.