In 2014 and 2015 the focus of the tubing and taphole sanitation research changed dramatically. Tests conducted in 2013 showed that if the spout and drop line were adequately sanitized sap yield comparable to a new spout and drop could be obtained. With the assistance of a grant from the Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension program of the USDA and in cooperation with the Proctor Maple Research Center in Vermont, a variety of spout and drop cleaning and replacement options were tested to determine the extent of sap yield changes.
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A plastic tubing system operated under vacuum is usually used to collect sap from maple trees during spring time to produce maple syrup. This system is commonly sanitized with isopropyl alcohol (IPA) to remove microbial contamination colonizing the system during the sugar season. Questions have been raised whether IPA would contribute to the leaching of plastic residues in maple sap and syrup coming from sanitized systems.
Summaries of research presentations at the 2014 annual NAMSC meeting.
Research results from experiments on sap yield using new and used spouts.
The advent of plastic tubing systems to collect sap has eliminated several problems associated with the traditional bucket system. However, plastic tubing systems also present some problems of their own. Sap quality problems arise if the lines sag and the sap lingers within the tubings or the large conduits. In addition, the warming effect of the sun increases the tem perature within the tubing to optimum levels for microbial growth and sap flow may decrease because of “organic buildup” on the internal tubing walls. This buildup is a result of the adhesion of microorganisms to the tubing walls.
This brochure is intended to raise awareness among sugarmakers about hazardous chemicals commonly being used in sugaring operations as well as the need to use these materials safely, in a way which protects personal and food product safety. This brochure will outline 1) the most common types of chemical hazards associated with sugarhouse chemicals, 2) basic guidelines for using chemicals safely, and 3) where to get more detailed information.
There are a number of ways to clean tubing systems to avoid microbial contamination of tapholes and sap.
A guide to producing maple syrup efficiently and safely.
An Excel spreadsheet that can be used to determine the effects of replacing or cleaning spouts and droplines on sap yield and profit.
Calculates projected sap yield and net profits based upon known relationships between tubing aging and various management strategies under vacuum conditions.