In wine-producing countries a large quantity of alcohol is obtained by the distillation of wine, both for the making of brandy and the production of industrial alcohol. Surplus stocks of wine are thus used up, the inferior kinds serving for the manufacture of the highly-rectified alcohol used in the arts, and the better qualities for the distillation of brandy. Similarly, other sugar-containing fruits besides the grape, either surplus produce or over-ripe or damaged stocks, are in some countries regularly fermented and distilled as a source of alcohol.

Fig. 14.   still for combined distillation and rectification of wine.

Fig. 14. - still for combined distillation and rectification of wine.

A, distilling column. B, column for preliminary purification. B, column for concentration of foreshots. C, rectifying column. I, pre-heater. J, K, condensers. J', K', refrigerators, a, b, backs for wine and water, respectively (Egrot and Grange, Paris).

Of other, less important, sugar- or starch-containing materials it will suffice to mention artichokes, which contain 16 to 18 per cent, of fermentable matter in the form of lævulose and inulin; sweet potatoes, used in the Azores and West Indies for alcohol-making, and containing about 27 per cent, of starch and sugar; and asphodel (Italian "porrazzo"), a starch-containing tuber common in the Mediterranean area, where it has been used as a source of industrial alcohol. It is claimed that an acre of asphodel plants yields eight tons of the tubers, from which at least 107 gallons of alcohol could be produced, but some difficulties appear to have been met with in the rectification. The Sotol plant, which grows abundantly in N. Mexico and W. Texas, and is employed in the making of alcohol, is said to yield from 18 to 25 gallons (presumably U.S. gallons) of 90 per cent, spirit per ton. Sisal waste, left after removal of the hemp fibres, has been used for the production of alcohol in Yucatan; the leaves contain about 12 per cent, of sugars.

A review of the plants from which alcohol is obtained has been compiled by J. H. Holland;1 the table given below has been summarised from this compilation. Many of the materials men tioned are of only minor importance, but the table may be found useful for reference. Oats, wheat, buckwheat, and millet are not included in the original.

Plants used as Sources of Alcohol.

Plant.

Botanical Name.

Where found or used.

1. - Fruits: -

Grape-vine...... .

Vitis vinifera, Linn.

Widely distributed.

Apple ..........

Pyrus malus, Linn.

Widely distributed.

Pear.....

Pyrus communis, Linn.

Widely distributed.

Peach ..................

Prunus persica, Benth. & Hook.

Widely distributed.

Cherry ....

Prunus cerasus, Linn.

Germany; Caucasus.

Plum . . . .

Prunus domestica, Linn.

Germany; Caucasus.

Prune ....

Prunus domestica, var. Juliana.

Germany; Caucasus.

Strawberry Tree

Arbutus unedo, Linn.

Corsica; Italy; Greece.

Banana ..................

Musa sapientum, Linn.

West Indies; E. & C. Africa, etc.

Date Palm ...............

Phoenix dactylifera, Linn.

Syria, Egypt, Nubia, etc.

Carob ...................

Geratonia siliqua, Linn.

Cyprus.

Cashew ..................

Anacardium occidentale, Linn.

Mozambique.

Prickly Pear...........

Opuntia, spp.

S. America.

C. African or Desert Date.

Balanites ægyptiaca, Delile.

Nigeria.

Pine-apple ...............

Ananas sativas, Schult. f.

Malay States.

Mulberry.................

Morus nigra, Linn.

Caucasus.

Mulberry.................

Morus alba, Linn.

Kashmir.

Jambolana ...............

Eugenia jambolana, Lam.

India, Ceylon, etc.

1 Kew Bulletin, 1912, 113-130,

Plants used as Sources of Alcohol - continued.