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Food Microbiol. 2012 Jun;30(2):379-92. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Dec 29.

On-farm implementation of a starter culture for improved cocoa bean fermentation and its influence on the flavour of chocolates produced thereof.

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Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium.


Cocoa bean fermentations controlled by means of starter cultures were introduced on several farms in two different cocoa-producing regions (West Africa and Southeast Asia). Two starter culture mixtures were tested, namely one composed of Saccharomyces cerevisiae H5S5K23, Lactobacillus fermentum 222, and Acetobacter pasteurianus 386B (three heaps and one box), and another composed of L. fermentum 222 and A. pasteurianus 386B (seven heaps and one box). In all starter culture-added cocoa bean fermentation processes, the inoculated starter culture species were able to outgrow the natural contamination of the cocoa pulp-bean mass and they prevailed during cocoa bean fermentation. The application of both added starter cultures resulted in fermented dry cocoa beans that gave concomitant milk and dark chocolates with a reliable flavour, independent of cocoa-producing region or fermentation method. The addition of the lactic acid bacterium (LAB)/acetic acid bacterium (AAB) starter culture to the fermenting cocoa pulp-bean mass accelerated the cocoa bean fermentation process regarding citric acid conversion and lactic acid production through carbohydrate fermentation. For the production of a standard bulk chocolate, the addition of a yeast/LAB/AAB starter culture was necessary. This enabled an enhanced and consistent ethanol production by yeasts for a successful starter culture-added cocoa bean fermentation process. This study showed possibilities for the use of starter cultures in cocoa bean fermentation processing to achieve a reliably improved fermentation of cocoa pulp-bean mass that can consistently produce high-quality fermented dry cocoa beans and flavourful chocolates produced thereof.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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