Detection of added beet or cane sugar in maple syrup by the site-specific deuterium nuclear magnetic resonance (SNIF-NMR) method: collaborative study
Journal of Aoac International 84(5): 1509-1521
Results of a collaborative study are reported for the detection of added beet or cane sugar in maple syrup by the site-specific natural isotope fractionation-nuclear magnetic resonance (SNIF-NMR) method. The method is based on the fact that the deuterium content at specific positions of the sugar molecules is different in maple syrup from that in beet or cane sugar. The syrup is diluted with pure water and fermented; the alcohol is distilled with a quantitative yield and analyzed with a high-field NMR spectrometer fitted with a deuterium probe and fluorine lock. The proportion of ethanol molecules monodeuterated at the methyl site is recorded. This parameter (D/H)I is decreased when beet sugar is added and increased when cane sugar is added to the maple syrup. The precision of the method for measuring (D/H)I was found to be in good agreement with the values already published for the application of this method to fruit juice concentrates (AOAC Official Method 995.17). An excellent correlation was found between the percentage of added beet sugar and the (D/H)I isotopic ratio measured in this collaborative study. Consequently, all samples in which exogenous sugars were added were found to have a (D/H)I isotopic ratio significantly different from the normal value for an authentic maple syrup. By extension of what is known about plants having the C4 cycle, the method can be applied to corn sweeteners as well as to cane sugar. One limitation of the method is its reduced sensitivity when applied to specific blends of beet and cane sugars or corn sweeteners. In such case, the C13 ratio measurement (see AOAC Official Method 984.23, Corn Syrup and Cane Sugar in Maple Syrup) may be used in conjunction.