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Int J Food Microbiol. 2013 Oct 1;167(1):103-16. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2013.06.024. Epub 2013 Jul 1.

Influencing cocoa flavour using Pichia kluyveri and Kluyveromyces marxianus in a defined mixed starter culture for cocoa fermentation.

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1
Department of Food Science, Section for Food Microbiology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Abstract

The potential impact of aromatic and pectinolytic yeasts on cocoa flavour was investigated using two defined mixed starter cultures encompassing strains of Pichia kluyveri and Kluyveromyces marxianus for inoculating cocoa beans in small scale tray fermentations. Samples for microbial and metabolite analysis were collected at 12-24 hour intervals during 120 h of fermentation. Yeast isolates were grouped by (GTG)5-based rep-PCR fingerprinting and identified by sequencing of the D1/D2 region of the 26S rRNA gene and the actin gene. Pulsed Field Gel Electrophoresis (PFGE) was conducted on isolates belonging to the species P. kluyveri and K. marxianus to verify strain level identity with the inoculated strains. Furthermore, Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis (DGGE) was performed to follow yeast and bacterial dynamics over time including the presence of the bacterial inoculum consisting of Lactobacillus fermentum and Acetobacter pasteurianus. Yeast cell counts peaked after 12 h of fermentation with the predominant species being identified as Hanseniaspora opuntiae and Hanseniaspora thailandica. P. kluyveri and K. marxianus were found to compose 9.3% and 13.5% of the yeast population, respectively, after 12 h of fermentation whilst PFGE showed that ~88% of all P. kluyveri isolates and 100% of all K. marxianus isolates were identical to the inoculated strains. Despite never being the dominant yeast species at any stage of fermentation, the un-conched chocolates produced from the two inoculated fermentations were judged by sensory analysis to differ in flavour profile compared to the spontaneously fermented control. This could indicate that yeasts have a greater impact on the sensory qualities of cocoa than previously assumed.

KEYWORDS:

Cocoa fermentation; Cocoa flavour; Kluyveromyces marxianus; PFGE; Pichia kluyveri; Starter culture

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