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326-EN, General section

Alternative lead-free method to the analysis of sucrose


Conventional polarization analysis uses lead acetate as clarifying agent for the sugar juice. An alternative method using near infrared polarimetry that does not need lead acetate was tested and provided good quality results.

Substituted substance(s)

  1. Lead acetate, basic

    CAS No. 1335-32-6 EC No. 215-630-3 Index No. 082-007-00-9

Alternative substance(s)

  1. Diatomite

    CAS No. 61790-53-2 EC No.  Index No. 

Other type of alternative

Non-chemical alternative: near infrared polarimetry

Reliability of information

Internet information: data are from an internet document and only a basic and partial evaluation could be performed

Hazard assessment

Lead acetate basic (acetic acid, lead salt, basic) is suspected of causing cancer, damaging the unborn child and fertility and very toxic to aquatic organisms.
Diatomite, used as filtering material, may cause eye, skin and respiratory irritation, according to C&L Inventory.

» Check the Substance Database according to SUBSPORT Screening Criteria (SDSC)

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Substitution description

Polarisation is determined for sugar juice in order to establish the content in sucrose.
Analysis methods using wavelength 598 nm necessitate lead acetate as clarifying agent. Instruments operating at longer wavelength, e.g.  laser (830 nm) or near infra-red (840 – 889 nm) regions are less sensitive to sample colour and can be applied after a filtration phase that eliminates turbidity.
Parallel tests with the conventional lead acetate method and with an alternative method (abbreviated NORPOL) using a near infra-red polarimeter (wavelength 882.6 nm) were performed on 150 ml samples filtered on 3.5 g diatomite (celite).
Results showed an excellent agreement (correlation R2 = 0.998 out of 1) between the NIRPOL and the conventional method with lead acetate. Repeatabilities and reproducibilities of the two methods were also comparable.

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Case/substitution evaluation

The substitution is easy to implement but needs another type of equipment. The alternative eliminates the use of a substance that contains lead and is self classified by some sources as suspected carcinogen and reprotoxic. Costs with the management of chemical supply and chemical waste are reduced.

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Other solutions

Further information

Further languages available

Who provided the information

Type of information supplier


Publication source

The presentation is based on: LF van Staden and E Mdlalose ’Lead-free pol analysis using near infrared polarimetry (NIRPOL)’,Proc S Afr Sug Technol Ass (2000) 74

Type of publication and availability 

Scientific article, freely available on internet

Original document: click here

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Publication or last update: 27 November 2012