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Safeguarding Maple Syrup Quality

​In collaboration with the maple industry, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) researchers developed an optical device that uses light to verify the quality and purity of maple syrup.

Maple syrup is a Canadian symbol with high market value. Quebec, which produces more than 90% of the country's syrup and 70% of the world's production, has an inspection system to ensure the quality of the province's output. AAFC and the ACER Centre (in French only) collaborated to develop a device, called SpectrAcer, that analyzes how light, from ultraviolet to near-infrared, interacts with maple syrup allowing inspectors to detect flavour defects.

Inspectors taste over 250 samples a day. Half of those samples can now be assessed automatically using SpectrAcer. The device can also detect adulterated syrup (syrup to which sugar has been added), which if introduced into the market would cause irreparable harm to the reputation of Canadian maple syrup. By ensuring tighter control over product quality, SpectrAcer will increase the value of production and allow Canada to maintain its leadership role in the industry.

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