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Food Science

Chemistry In Pictures

Chemistry in Pictures: Not-so-simple syrup

by Manny Morone
December 18, 2018

A bottle of maple syrup glows bright blue agains a black background.
Credit: Brian Wagner

Although tasty, maple syrup seems chemically uninteresting. But, as part of his outreach theme of “#everydayfluorescence,” Brian Wagner posted this image of maple syrup glowing bright blue under an ultraviolet light. Wagner, a professor at the University of Prince Edward Island, found out about the sugary condiment’s glowing potential about two months ago when he read about it in a paper; he promptly went out to a grocery store to grab a bottle of President’s Choice maple syrup and has since tested other brands to confirm the result. According to Wagner, the fluorescence stems from the complex composition of the syrup, which includes various biological molecules from maple trees containing the amino acid tryptophan and phenolic moieties. Several of these aromatic molecules fluoresce.

Submitted by Brian Wagner via Instagram. You can send in your submissions via Twitter or Instagram by adding the tag #CENChemPics, and you can follow Wagner @fluorescent_chemist on Instagram and @DrummerBoy2112 on Twitter.

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