Maple Enters the Knowledge Economy - The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers ready to reveal maple's technological platform

MONTREAL, Feb. 8, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - From the maple tree to maple products, the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ) offers an innovative, holistic approach to maple. The research and data collected by the Federation over the past seven years have refocused the maple industry around innovation and the utilization of gastronomic and scientific research findings and new technologies as drivers of long-term economic growth.

The all-natural quality and virtues of maple products have long been known anecdotally. Now they have been documented. For centuries aboriginal peoples used maple sap as a tonic. Then from the Franciscan Récollet Chrestien Leclercq in 1676 to botanist Peter Kalm in 1749 and Duhamel du Monceau in his 1756 work Chymie, pharmacie et métallurgie published by the French Academy of Sciences, many would describe maple's pharmacological uses. In fact, the University of Michigan's Native American Ethnobotany Database catalogues the authors, sources and information that refer to maple, whether as a healthy sugar, good for the lungs, an expectorant, used to cure stomach ailments, etc. Closer to home, Jacques Rousseau (1905-1970), scientist, writer, presenter, professor and head of the Montreal Botanical Garden, wrote that: "coureurs des bois would drink infusions of sugar maple bark (taken from the side of the tree exposed to the sun) to boost their endurance."

The efforts of Quebec's maple syrup producers are based on their "New Generation of Maple: 2020" innovation strategy. It was developed using the results of preliminary research obtained starting in 2006. The results have exceeded the expectations of the entire industry: "Maple's unique flavour, its versatility in not only culinary applications but many others, and its bioactive compounds such as polyphenol antioxidants make it one of the world's great products with an endless potential to surprise us," affirmed the president of the Federation, Mr. Serge Beaulieu.

Last spring, the FPAQ announced the discovery by Navindra Seeram, a researcher at the University of Rhode Island, that of the 54 antioxidants present in maple syrup, five were compounds identified for the first time in nature, unique to maple. One of them, a polyphenol, was named Quebecol in honour of Quebec.

The studies continue and since last fall the FPAQ has successfully generated several different types of patented extracts, including sugarless maple extract. This extract is a concentrate of bioactive molecules in maple that could be integrated into value added products, such as cosmetics and natural health products.

"We are continuing our research, but with a holistic approach," explained Geneviève Béland, director of promotion and market development. "We want to learn more about the sugar maple but also the red maple and the silver maple - all the trees that produce maple water. Further research is being done on many other aspects and new findings should come out soon," concluded Ms. Béland.

Since April 2011, seven scientific articles have been published for the Canadian maple industry, thanks to investment from the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup producers. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, through its Agricultural Innovation Program, and the Conseil pour le développement de l'agriculture du Québec (CDAQ), have also contributed with funding for the research.

About the FPAQ

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers was founded in 1966 with the mission of defending and promoting the economic, social and moral interests of its 7,400 maple businesses. These men and women are working together to collectively market their products. The quality of their work and their products has made Quebec the producer of close to 80% of today's global maple syrup output.


For further information:

Geneviève Béland
Director of Promotion and Market Development
Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers

Johannie Coiteux
Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers
Phone: 450 679-0540 ext. 8609

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