We had two objectives in the study of sugar maples which showed signs of decline and stress on a roadside where deicing salt was used in the winter. One goal was to determine if tree stress is related to the levels offsodium and chloride in their sap and in the groundwater and soil around their roots; and, if so, to develop methodology approved by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC) that would allow any laboratory to use a standard method to assess maple tree decline due to sodium and chloride effect. The second goal was to evaluate the quality of the syrup processed from sap aseptically collected from maples in decline. We are updating here the later objective of the project that is of interest to the sugar maple producers.
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We initiated a controlled test of the effect of in-line UV light on the microorganisms in free-flowing sugar maple sap that had not been treated by PFA pellets at the taphole. We also wanted to test the effect of temperature-controlled sap storage for five intervals up to 7 days (167 h) prior to processing to syrup.