Identifying and Quantifying the Sugars Found in Maple Syrup Using FTIR Spectroscopy

This article discusses the application of Shimadzu IRTracer-100 FTIR spectrophotometer to determine and measure the sugars present in maple syrup, a widely used sweetener.

Maple syrup is available either in pure form or as a low-cost alternative (commercial maple syrup) containing additives like corn syrup, which is a widely used additive in the manufacture of syrup products.

Pure maple syrup is composed of different flavor components, phenolics, and sugars, predominantly sucrose. It may also contain trace amounts of other sugars, such as glucose and fructose. The typical proportion of pure maple syrup is 98% sucrose and below 2% of glucose and fructose. Conversely, the proportion of glucose is higher in corn syrup. The FTIR spectra of the different syrups and sugars are shown in Figure 1.

FTIR spectra of syrups and various sugars

Figure 1. FTIR spectra of syrups and various sugars

Instrumentation and Experimental Procedure

MID FTIR spectroscopy was used to determine and measure natural sugars present in the maple syrup. The Shimadzu IRTracer-100 FTIR spectrophotometer (Figure 2) was employed in the analysis of samples using an attenuated total reflectance (ATR) accessory. Factor space chemometric analysis was used to measure sugar concentrations in the maple syrup.

The Shimadzu IRTracer-100 FTIR spectrophotometer

Figure 2. The Shimadzu IRTracer-100 FTIR spectrophotometer

This experiment analyzed different types of maple syrup to determine the concentrations of sucrose, glucose, and fructose. The diluted maple syrup samples were directly placed onto a ZnSe ATR crystal for subsequent analysis. The Shimadzu IRTracer-100 was used to acquire 32 spectra on an average for each sample at a resolution 4 cm-1.

Experimental Results

The weight percentage concentrations of glucose, fructose, and sucrose found in different maple syrup samples using chemometric analysis are summarized in Table 1. The glucose concentration is substantially higher in the commercial maple syrup when compared with the pure maple syrup, revealing the contribution of corn syrup.

Table 1. Calculated concentrations of fructose, glucose, and sucrose for various maple syrup samples

Sample ID Sample Name %Fructose (W/W) %Glucose (W/W) %Sucrose (W/W)
Vermont Sampling Kit
1 Vermont Fancy 3.3% 0% 96.7%
2 Grade A Medium Amber 2.9% 0% 97.1%
3 Grade A Dark Amber 3.7% 0% 96.3%
4 Grade B 6.9% 0% 93.1%
Commercial Pure Maple Syrup
5 U.S. Grade A Light Amber 0% 0% 100%
6 Grade A Medium Amber 0% 0% 100%
7 U.S. Grade A Dark Amber 3.2% 0% 96.8%
8 U.S. Grade A Dark Amber 5.8% 0% 94.2%
9 U.S. Grade A Dark Amber 8.9% 0% 91.1%
10 Grade A Dark Amber 5.4% 0% 95.5%
11 U.S. Grade A Dark Amber 6.1% 0% 93.9%
12 U.S. Grade A Dark Amber 6.4% 0% 93.6%
13 U.S. Grade A Dark Amber 0% 0% 100%
14 U.S. Grade B 4.5% 0% 95.5%
Commercial Maple Syrup
15 Sample 1 0% 68.1% 31.9%
16 Sample 2 2.8% 94.4% 2.8%
17 Sample 3 8.1% 87.7% 4.2%
18 Sample 4 15.2% 79.5% 5.3%
19 Sample 5 23.4% 58.9% 17.7%

Conclusion

The results clearly show that FTIR analysis is a powerful method for determining and measuring the different natural sugars found in food products like the maple syrup.

The presence of sucrose, glucose, and fructose is quantitatively analyzed with minimal sample preparation using chemometric techniques. The combination of the IRTracer-100 and an ATR accessory is a suitable tool for any QA/QC environment demanding quantitative determination of constituents of finished products.

This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Shimadzu Scientific Instruments.

For more information on this source, please visit Shimadzu Scientific Instruments.

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