Sugarcane press mud is the residue of the filtration of sugarcane juice. The clarification process separates the juice into a clear juice that rises to the top and goes to manufacture, and a mud that collects at the bottom. The mud is then filtered to separate the suspended matter, which includes insoluble salts and fine bagasse. There are 3 types of filters: the press filters (used in carbonatation factories), mechanical filters and rotary vacuum filters (Hugot, 1986). The yield of filter cake is variable, from 1 to 7 kg (wet basis) / 100 kg of cane (van der Poel et al., 1998). With a (conservative) yield of 2% and a total production of 1700 million t (in 2009, from FAO, 2011), the world output of fresh filter press mud can be estimated to be about 30 million t.
This industrial waste is mostly used as soil conditioner, soil fertilizer and for wax production. Other industrial applications are reported (cement and paint manufacturing, foaming agent, composting aid for bagasse etc.) and it has been used as human food in poor families (van der Poel et al., 1998). In animal production, it has been used as feed ingredient, notably in ruminants, for its sugar and mineral content, and as a compacting agent for ensiling (van der Poel et al., 1998).