Sugar syrup decolorization was studied using two commercial and eight beet pulp based activated carbons. In an attempt to relate decolorizing performances to other characteristics, surface areas, pore volumes, bulk densities and ash contents of the carbons in the powdered form; pH and electrical conductivities of their suspensions and their color adsorption properties from iodine and molasses solution were determined. The color removal capabilities of all carbons were measured at 1/100 (w/w) dosage, and isotherms were determined on better samples. The two commercial activated carbons showed different decolorization efficiencies; which could be related to their physical and chemical properties. The decolorization efficiency of beet pulp carbon prepared at 750 degrees C and activated for 5 h using CO, was much better than the others and close to the better one of the commercial activated carbons used. It is evident that beet pulp is an inexpensive potential precursor for activated carbons for use in sugar refining. (C) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.