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Unlocking the mystery of maple syrup at Université Laval

Researchers have discovered a bioactive compound in the sweet liquid.

By LÉO CHARBONNEAU | SEP 11 2013
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Researchers at Université Laval have successfully synthesized a potentially beneficial bioactive compound found in maple syrup called “quebecol“. The discovery builds on research conducted at the university over the past several years on the possible health benefits of maple syrup.

Quebecol is a phenolic compound, one of many known to exist in foods like blueberries, dark chocolate and red wine and which are thought to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. Quebecol was first isolated and named by Navindra Seeram at the University of Rhode Island in 2011.

The compound is not present in sap but appears to be a by-product of the boiling process used to produce the syrup. Dr. Seeram named the compound quebecol because his research was on Quebec maple syrup and was funded by Agriculture Canada and the Conseil pour le developpement de l’agriculture du Quebec.

The synthesis of quebecol will help to speed up its analysis, say the Laval researchers. “The method we’ve developed allows us to produce large quantities in a very efficient manner,” says Laval chemistry professor Normand Voyer, who made the discovery with PhD student Sébastien Cardinal.

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