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Plant Biotechnol J. 2018 Jan;16(1):4-17. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12848. Epub 2017 Nov 19.

Cacao biotechnology: current status and future prospects.

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Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka.
School of Agriculture, Policy and Development, University of Reading, Reading, UK.


Theobroma cacao-The Food of the Gods, provides the raw material for the multibillion dollar chocolate industry and is also the main source of income for about 6 million smallholders around the world. Additionally, cocoa beans have a number of other nonfood uses in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. Specifically, the potential health benefits of cocoa have received increasing attention as it is rich in polyphenols, particularly flavonoids. At present, the demand for cocoa and cocoa-based products in Asia is growing particularly rapidly and chocolate manufacturers are increasing investment in this region. However, in many Asian countries, cocoa production is hampered due to many reasons including technological, political and socio-economic issues. This review provides an overview of the present status of global cocoa production and recent advances in biotechnological applications for cacao improvement, with special emphasis on genetics/genomics, in vitro embryogenesis and genetic transformation. In addition, in order to obtain an insight into the latest innovations in the commercial sector, a survey was conducted on granted patents relating to T. cacao biotechnology.


Theobroma cacao ; breeding; chocolate; genetics; genomics; somatic embryogenesis; transformation

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