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Maple syrup under the microscope in $1.4M program


Longueuil, QC – A new, $1.4 million research program will explore the physical chemistry of cooking with maple. Being launched by the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ) and the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies (FRQNT), the five-year program will focus on the physicochemical, sensory and culinary attributes of maple products.

“This uniquely flavoured product and its derivatives have food properties that require further research from experts in the physical chemistry field,” said Maryse Lassonde, scientific director of the FRQNT.

Called the Research Partnership Program on the Food Science behind Maple – the Physical Chemistry of Cooking with Maple, the new program will have eight areas of research that target the global use of maple water and its derivatives. To that end, program officials say they will be seeking scientific collaboration between local and international academic researchers, companies and users of the research results. The research will be designed to advance knowledge on maple water, syrup, taffy, butter, sugar, flakes and alcohols derived from fermenting maple water. The eight target areas are as follows:

  • – Knowledge to develop a maple products classification system for food professionals.
  • – Physical chemistry of the caramelization and Maillard reactions observed in maple sugars and in cooking with maple.
  • – Compared behaviour of pure sucrose and maple sugar in culinary techniques.
  • – The chemistry of ‘perfect harmony’ in maple-based cuisine (identification, measurement, physicochemical studies, etc.).
  • – Exploration and modelling the physical chemistry of maple flavour development and analysis of the flavour harmonies with international cuisine ingredients.
  • – Study of maple flavour perception according to taste receptor environment.
  • – The technical health limits of using maple sugar in cooking.
  • – Maple in future cuisines (crystallization, fermentation, caramelization, extraction, maceration, etc.).

“Quebec maple producers believe in the importance of developing knowledge on the food science behind maple products,” said Serge Beaulieu, FPAQ’s president. “Since 2005, we have injected millions of dollars according to a structured plan. We are now at the stage where our investments will go towards fully understanding maple’s culinary characteristics to facilitate its integration into the world’s cuisines.”

A call for proposals will be available on the FRQNT’s website at the end of summer 2015.