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2011 Update of Maple Tubing and Taphole Sanitation Research at Cornell

During the 2011 maple sap season a variety of research trials were conducted at the Arnot Forest of Cornell University and in the woods of a number of cooperators both with vacuum and gravity systems. Research conducted over the last five years has shown that significant increases in sap yield can be obtained by keeping the tap hole from contamination by bacteria and yeast.

Controlling Microbial Population in Sap Systems

Over the course of one maple sap season in Western New York that started approximately March 8, 2005 and ended April 9, 2005, four maple sap locations were sampled to determine the levels and diversity of microbial populations contained in the different sap samples.

Do Not Use Isopropyl Alcohol as a Maple Sanitizer in the U.S.

Regardless of the availability and guidance provided, maple producers should clearly understand that the use of isopropyl alcohol in maple tubing systems anywhere in the United States is a violation of federal law.

Tubing Cleaning – Methods Used in the U.S.

A wide variety of cleaning techniques are currently used in the maple industry, including rinsing the system with pressurized air and water, or attempts to sanitize with chemical solutions such as peroxide, bleach, or alcohol. However, the effectiveness of these cleaning techniques in reducing microbial populations and increasing annual sap yield is often questionable.

Update on the Maple Tubing Sanitation Research in Ontario

In the spring of 1998, a research project was initiated to develop alternative methods for maple produces using plastic tubing systems. Although the results are only preliminary, the development of alternative sanitation methods that may reduce reliance on chlorine is looking very promising.