Indian-origin boffin finds 54 beneficial compounds in pure maple syrup

Indian-origin boffin finds 54 beneficial compounds in pure maple syrupWashington, March 31: An Indian-origin scientist has discovered 34 new beneficial compounds in pure maple syrup and confirmed that 20 compounds discovered last year in preliminary research play a key role in human health.

Navindra Seeram, an assistant pharmacy professor at the University of Rhode Island, said that his URI team has now isolated and identified 54 beneficial compounds in pure maple syrup from Quebec, five of which have never been seen in nature.

"I continue to say that nature is the best chemist, and that maple syrup is becoming a champion food when it comes to the number and variety of beneficial compounds found in it," Seeram said.

"It''s important to note that in our laboratory research we found that several of these compounds possess anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which have been shown to fight cancer, diabetes and bacterial illnesses," he said.

These discoveries of new molecules from nature can also provide chemists with leads that could prompt synthesis of medications that could be used to fight fatal diseases, he added.

As part of his diabetes research, Seeram has collaborated with Chong Lee, professor of nutrition and food sciences in URI''s College of the Environment and Life Sciences.

The scientists have found that maple syrup phenolics, the beneficial anti-oxidant compounds, inhibit two carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes that are relevant to Type 2 diabetes management.

Among the five new compounds is Quebecol, a compound created when a farmer boils off the water in maple sap to get maple syrup. It takes 40 litres of sap to make 1 litre of syrup.

"Quebecol has a unique chemical structure or skeleton never before identified in nature," Seeram said.

"I believe the process of concentrating the maple sap into maple syrup is what creates Quebecol. There is beneficial and interesting chemistry going on when the boiling process occurs. I believe the heat forms this unique compound," he said.

Seeram said he and his team chose the common name of Quebecol for the new compound to honor the province of Quebec in Canada, which leads the worldwide production of maple syrup

The findings were presented at the 241st American Chemical Society''s National Meeting in Anaheim, Calif. (ANI)

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