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Int J Food Microbiol. 2014 Mar 17;174:72-87. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2013.12.014. Epub 2013 Dec 27.

Yeasts are essential for cocoa bean fermentation.

Author information

1
Food Science and Technology, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia. Electronic address: htthuyvan@yahoo.com.
2
Food Science and Technology, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia. Electronic address: jian.zhao@unsw.edu.au.
3
Food Science and Technology, School of Chemical Engineering, The University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia. Electronic address: g.fleet@unsw.edu.au.

Abstract

Cocoa beans (Theobroma cacao) are the major raw material for chocolate production and fermentation of the beans is essential for the development of chocolate flavor precursors. In this study, a novel approach was used to determine the role of yeasts in cocoa fermentation and their contribution to chocolate quality. Cocoa bean fermentations were conducted with the addition of 200ppm Natamycin to inhibit the growth of yeasts, and the resultant microbial ecology and metabolism, bean chemistry and chocolate quality were compared with those of normal (control) fermentations. The yeasts Hanseniaspora guilliermondii, Pichia kudriavzevii and Kluyveromyces marxianus, the lactic acid bacteria Lactobacillus plantarum and Lactobacillus fermentum and the acetic acid bacteria Acetobacter pasteurianus and Gluconobacter frateurii were the major species found in the control fermentation. In fermentations with the presence of Natamycin, the same bacterial species grew but yeast growth was inhibited. Physical and chemical analyses showed that beans fermented without yeasts had increased shell content, lower production of ethanol, higher alcohols and esters throughout fermentation and lesser presence of pyrazines in the roasted product. Quality tests revealed that beans fermented without yeasts were purplish-violet in color and not fully brown, and chocolate prepared from these beans tasted more acid and lacked characteristic chocolate flavor. Beans fermented with yeast growth were fully brown in color and gave chocolate with typical characters which were clearly preferred by sensory panels. Our findings demonstrate that yeast growth and activity were essential for cocoa bean fermentation and the development of chocolate characteristics.

KEYWORDS:

Acetic acid bacteria; Cocoa bean fermentation; Cocoa quality; Lactic acid bacteria; Natamycin; Yeasts

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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