Pure yeast culture fermentation of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L): effect on yield of sweatings and cocoa bean quality

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Abstract

Cocoa sweatings, the pale yellowish liquid that drains off during cocoa fermentation, is the breakdown product of the mucilage surrounding the fresh cocoa bean, and constitutes about 10% of the weight of the cocoa fruit. On average, about 1.9 million l of sweatings are produced annually in Ghana during the cocoa harvesting season. It has been shown to be a suitable medium for the production of wines, alcohol, marmalade, jam and syrup. Its rapid collection in high yields and quality is the first step to its utilization on a commercial scale. Thus pure yeast culture fermentation of cocoa under controlled temperature conditions and its effect on yield of sweatings and final cocoa bean quality was investigated. Cocoa fermentations employing Saccharomyces chevalieri or Kluyveromyces fragilis alone gave significantly higher yields of sweatings (p 0.05) than controls. The initial rates of sweating by the two strains were also very high but dropped to a constant minimum value after 12h of fermentation. In contrast, fermentations employing Torulopsis candida or Candida norvengensis alone as well as different combinations of all the yeast strains did not give any significant difference in yield compared to controls (p 0.05). Fermentations using S. chevalieri alone or other combinations in which S. chevalieri was present gave beans with acceptable quality based on different quality indices used for grading cocoa beans commercially.