I love real maple syrup.  The store-bought stuff just always strikes me as being too watery.  But I'll admit I'm a little spoiled there.  I've grown up getting the good stuff from relatives who live in Canada as a Christmas present every year.  So I am all for anything that could result in a better maple syrup.

Research is underway at Montana State University on creating a way to monitor microbes that build up in the equipment used to harvest and process maple sap and turn it into syrup, usually with a detrimental effect on the final product.

Stephan Warnat, who is an assistant professor at MSU's Norm Asbjornson College of Engineering, says this is an extension of a NASA-funded project he and another team undertook last year to tackle a similar problem with the plumbing system of the International Space Station.

According to Seth Walk, professor at MSU's College of Agriculture and co-leader of the team alongside Warnat, the microbes eat the sugar in the sap, and produce a byproduct that, in sufficient amounts, affects the taste and smell of the syrup.

Of course, they don't want to just monitor the microbe levels, they want to find better ways to disinfect the equipment and get rid of the microbes as well.

I can't wait to see what comes of the research.  What are your thoughts?  Send us a message and let me know.

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