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Citrus molasses


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Common names 

Citrus molasses

Taxonomic information 
  • Oranges: Citrus × sinensis (L.) Osbeck
  • Tangerines: Citrus × tangerina Tanaka
  • Mandarin oranges (mandarins, mandarines): Citrus reticulata Blanco
  • Lemons: Citrus × limon
  • Limes: several species, including key lime Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle, limequat Citrus × floridana (J. Ingram & H. Moore) Mabb., Citrus limetta Risso etc.
  • Grapefruits: Citrus × paradisi Macfad

Citrus molasses is a by-product of citrus juice extraction. The fresh pulp obtained after pressing the fruit is mixed with lime and pressed to remove moisture. The resulting liquid (press juice) is screened to remove the larger particles, sterilised by heating and concentrated. The resulting product contains 71-72% dry matter and 60-65% sugars (Crawshaw, 2004). Citrus molasses is a thick viscous liquid, dark brown to almost black, with a very bitter taste (Göhl, 1978). It is often sold to distilleries or reincorporated in the dried citrus pulp, but can also be fed directly to animals, or added to grass silage (Grant, 2007; Hendrickson et al., 1965).

Nutritional aspects
Nutritional attributes 

Citrus molasses contains about 45% sugar (as fed) and 4% protein (as fed) and is comparable to sugarcane molasses. Its main constraint as a feed is its bitterness (Hendrickson et al., 1965).

Potential constraints 

Citrus molasses from some citrus varieties and species may contain naringin, a bitter flavonoid (Hendrickson et al., 1965).


In spite of its bitter taste, citrus molasses is readily accepted by beef and dairy cattle (Crawshaw, 2004). It was found to be more palatable than sugarcane molasses and can be used in the same way (Crawshaw, 2004; Göhl, 1978). It may be mixed with pressed pulp prior to drying, thus increasing the ratio of total digestible nutrients to crude fibre in the dried product without lessening the keeping quality of the pulp. When fed free-choice to cattle, they consume up to 3 kg/day (Göhl, 1978). It can replace 50% of ground maize in the diet of fattening steers without reducing live-weight gain, slaughter weight and quality (Hendrickson et al., 1965).


Citrus molasses is not palatable to pigs but they can become accustomed to it after 3-7 days. Citrus molasses can replace 10-40% of the maize in the diet depending on the age of the pig (Hendrickson et al., 1965).


Citrus molasses was reported to be included at 5-10% in poultry diets (Babafunso Sonaiya et al., 2004). It could be used as a binding agent in poultry pellets to replace sugarcane molasses (El Boushy et al., 2000).

Nutritional tables
Tables of chemical composition and nutritional value 

Avg: average or predicted value; SD: standard deviation; Min: minimum value; Max: maximum value; Nb: number of values (samples) used

Main analysis Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Dry matter % as fed 71.0 1
Crude protein % DM 5.8 1
Crude fibre % DM 0.0 1
Ether extract % DM 0.3 1
Ash % DM 6.6 1
Gross energy MJ/kg DM 16.5 *
Minerals Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Calcium g/kg DM 11.3 1
Phosphorus g/kg DM 0.8 1
Pig nutritive values Unit Avg SD Min Max Nb
Energy digestibility, growing pig % 90.1 *
DE growing pig MJ/kg DM 14.9 *

The asterisk * indicates that the average value was obtained by an equation.


Hendrickson et al., 1965

Last updated on 24/10/2012 00:44:00

Datasheet citation 

Tran G., 2016. Citrus molasses. Feedipedia, a programme by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. https://www.feedipedia.org/node/681 Last updated on April 13, 2016, 11:32

English correction by Tim Smith (Animal Science consultant) and Hélène Thiollet (AFZ)
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