From: Carleton University
Published September 12, 2017 08:03 AM

Carleton Professor Helps Maple Syrup Producers Solve Mould Problem

Maple syrup has been a Canadian staple for centuries and although many food-manufacturing processes have become automated, maple syrup is still largely made by small producers and bought from roadside stands and markets.

The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association (OMSPA), which represents more than 600 producers across the province, noticed there was a problem with this value chain. After receiving a large number of complaints about mould in maple syrup,­ OMSPA called in Carleton Chemistry Prof. David Miller — an expert on fungi and fungal toxins in food — to see if he could crack the sugary conundrum.

With an ENGAGE grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada to produce “a sound scientific assessment of the conditions leading to fungal growth in maple syrup produced from a representative cross-section of producers in the region,” Miller was able to discover what was wrong.

For one thing, too much maple syrup was being sold with low sugar content that wasn’t compliant with Ontario regulations. This was due to a combination of lack of training and the use of old instruments that had not been calibrated for a very long time, as well as the accuracy of the various instruments used in sugar bushes. Ensuring the sugar content is correct reduces the risk of mould damage.

 

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