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Potential of fluorescence spectroscopy for the characterisation of maple syrup flavours


Correspondence to: B. Panneton, Horticulture R&D Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 430 Boul. Gouin, St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, QC, J3B 3E6, Canada. E-mail:



Maple syrup has high maket value. It is produced in North East America from the heat-evaporated sap of Acer saccharum Marshall. For marketing purposes, there is interest in defining its flavour profile in a consistent and repeatable manner. An experiment was undertaken to explore the potential of autofluorescence of maple syrup induced at 275 and 360 nm to characterise flavours.


A mixed data factor analysis revealed two independent groups of variables. One represents early season woody and late season empyreumatic flavours. The other is related to off-flavour, confectionery and maple flavours. Maple and confectionery flavours are subtle, difficult to distinguish and opposed to off-flavour. There were clear relationships among the two groups and fluorescence profiles. For each of the five basic flavours, discriminant models based on partial least squares regressions were developed. For each sample of syrup, flavours combined to form flavour profiles, and the results from the five discriminant models were aggregated to reproduce these profiles. For excitation at 275 nm, the woody/off-flavour and confectionery/empyreumatic/maple flavour profiles were classified correctly 86 and 78% of the time (cross-validation) respectively.


Induced autofluorescence spectra were shown to contain information related to maple syrup flavours. This fluorescence–flavour relationship is not considered quantitative yet, and further research avenues are proposed. © 2013 Society of Chemical Industry