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Maui sugarcane photo
MFA# 2015.11806
Sugar cane stalks


Originally, the term bagasse was applied to any residual fibers from the processing of numerous plants and fruits such as olives, palm nuts, grapes, Sisal, sugarcane, and sugar beets. Currently, the term bagasse only refers to the dry, fibrous residue left from the stalks of sugarcane, Saccharum officinarum, after the sugar has been extracted. Bagasse is composed of Cellulose (50%), pentosan (25%) and Lignin (25%). It is used in the production of Paper pulp, fiberboards, Insulation, Acoustical tile, and animal feed.

Bagasse pile

Synonyms and Related Terms

megass; bagazo (Esp.); Saccharum officinarum (sugarcane); sugar cane; sugar beets


Dust is flammable. Inhalation of dust may cause pneumonitis or asthma.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Paper fiber type: Non-woody/grass. Using transmitted light microscopy, fibers are flat and thick-walled with mostly blunt ends. They have the appearance of hardwood fibers. Parenchyma cells are very large, thin-walled and abundant. Heavily pitted long vessels are also present, but may be broken up by pulping. Separated spiral thickenings may be present. Appearance with Graff "C" stain: Dark blue, but varies with bleaching. Average dimensions of fibers: length, 1.7mm; width 20μm. Vessels can be up to 2.1mm long and 200μm in width. Common pulping method: mechanical or soda.

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • R. J. Gettens, G.L. Stout, Painting Materials, A Short Encyclopaedia, Dover Publications, New York, 1966
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • Boise Cascade Paper Group, The Paper Handbook, Boise Cascade, Portland OR, 1989
  • Matt Roberts, Don Etherington, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: a Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington DC, 1982
  • The Dictionary of Paper, American Paper Institute, New York, Fourth Edition, 1980
  • Marja-Sisko Ilvessalo-Pfäffli. Fiber Atlas: Identification of Papermaking Fibers (Springer Series in Wood Science). Springer, 1995.
  • E.J.LaBarre, Dictionary and Encyclopedia of Paper and Paper-making, Swets & Zeitlinger, Amsterdam, 1969
  • Walter Rantanen. "Fiber ID Course." Integrated Paper Services. June 2013. Lecture.
  • Random House, Webster's Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language, Grammercy Book, New York, 1997
  • The Merck Index, Martha Windholz (ed.), Merck Research Labs, Rahway NJ, 10th edition, 1983 Comment: entry 970
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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