Composition of Cacao Beans
The physics and chemistry of cocoa beans are very complex and change throughout the life of the bean, mainly depending on the processing it receives and on geographical origin.
The main component of cocoa beans is lipid fraction, approximately 50%, mainly constituted by neutral lipids, with a predominant fraction of triglyceride molecules.
Protein fraction constitutes 10–15% of the dry weight of cocoa seeds, and it is composed of 52% and 43% of albumin and globulin fractions, respectively. Other proteins, such as glutelins and prolamins, are present in lower concentrations.
Cocoa beans contain stimulant substances, such as theobromine, caffeine, and theophylline, named purinic alkaloids, which affect the central nervous system.
Various bioactive compounds with vasoactive effects have also been reported in cocoa beans.
KeywordsTheobroma cacao Cocoa beans Nutrient composition Geographic influence Purinic alkaloids
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