Application of empirical Peleg model to study the water adsorption and mineral desorption of cocoa (Theobroma cacao) beans in water and sodium bicarbonate during debittering process

  • Marlyse Solange LengEmail author
  • Fred Theodore Hiag
  • Emile Minyaka
  • Sylvie Nguikwie
  • Robert Ndjouenkeu
Original Article


The ability of water and sodium bicarbonate solution in producing debittering cocoa bean for immediate consumption as ready to cook food and the applicability of empirical Peleg model in order to interpret the sorption data is evaluated in this study. Fermented cocoa beans were soaked and/or boiled in water and in 2% sodium bicarbonate solution with a weight to volume ratio of 1:10. Cocoa beans were withdrawn at each interval over a 6-h time period and moisture and minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium) content analyzed using standard analytical methods. Bitterness was measured by sensory analysis. Peleg model was used to transform the sorption data into the mathematical equation and Peleg parameters K1, K2 and Me calculated. It has been found that boiling in water and sodium bicarbonate (2%) significantly reduces the bitterness of cocoa beans. Kinetic curves of water absorption express the characteristic shape with a fast water absorption rate at the beginning of the process follow by a decreasing rate as the equilibrium moisture is reached. Mineral desorption curves exhibited unusual pattern depending on the mineral under consideration. Application of sorption data demonstrates a predictive capacity of the Peleg model as judged by the regression coefficients. Boiling cocoa beans for 50 min in 2% sodium bicarbonate and 30 min in boiling water can be considered as optimal for debittering cocoa beans in order to give them palatable option to be integrated in nutrition and in none medicinal therapeutics in Cameroon.


Cocoa bean Water Sodium bicarbonate Debittering Peleg model Optimal condition 



This study has not received any direct fund. We gratefully acknowledge the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Douala-Cameroon in the laboratory aspects of this work.


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Copyright information

© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marlyse Solange Leng
    • 1
    Email author
  • Fred Theodore Hiag
    • 1
  • Emile Minyaka
    • 1
  • Sylvie Nguikwie
    • 1
  • Robert Ndjouenkeu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryThe University of DoualaDoualaCameroon
  2. 2.Department of Food Science and NutritionThe University of NgaoundéréNgaoundéréCameroon

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