University of Ottawa NMR Facility Web Site

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

NMR and Food Chemistry - Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is arguably one of the tastiest traditional Canadian condiments.  In honor of Canada Day (July 1), it is appropriate to take a look at this delicious golden treat.  The bottom trace of the figure below shows the 600 MHz 1H NMR spectrum of pure Quebec maple syrup dissolved in D2O.
The spectrum is overwhelmingly dominated by sucrose.  Clearly, nature gives us the maple flavor with very low concentration components.  The top trace is a similar spectrum of "table" syrup which has a taste somewhat similar to maple syrup.  The spectrum is much more complicated than that of pure maple syrup.  In order to mimic the flavor of pure maple syrup, the food chemists resort to a complex mixture of sugars and artificial flavors.  Canada keeps it simple and of course better!  Happy Canada Day.