Tongaat Hulett Starch is Africa’s largest producer of Starch, Glucose and related products. We produce a wide range of high quality products for customers across Africa and around the world using maize as our raw material. The products manufactured at our five mills are essential ingredients in the manufacturing processes by hundreds of different companies, in as many industries.
By supplying a diverse range of products, to an equally diverse range of clients and industries, we have a lasting impact on the lives of millions of consumers across the African continent and around the world.
Chemically, starch is composed of two different molecules, amylose and amylopectin. In amylose, the glucose molecules are linked in a "linear" fashion; however, the tetrahedral chemistry of carbon (and the bond angles that result from this chemistry) gives amylose an overall spiral shape. Amylopectin, on the other hand, has a linear arrangement of glucose molecules that includes, at regular intervals, a different kind of linkage between two adjacent glucoses. This different linkage results in the formation of a branched structure and an overall treelike shape for this molecule. Plant starch is typically 20 to 30 percent amylose and 70 to 80 percent amylopectin. The classic test for the presence of starch is reaction with iodine. If starch molecules are present in a substance, the addition of iodine yields a deep blue color, which results from I 2 being trapped inside the spiral structures of amylose molecules.
Starch is a natural component of sugar cane. When the cane is crushed, some of the starch is transferred into the cane juice where it remains throughout subsequent processing steps. Part of the starch is degraded by natural enzymes already present in the cane juice, but if the concentration of starch is too high, starch may be present in the crystallized sugar (raw sugar). If this is to be further processed to refined sugar, starch concentrations beyond a certain level are unacceptable because the filtration of the sugar solution will be too difficult.