‘Stressed out’ cocoa trees could produce more flavorful chocolate

The system, called agroforestry, provides a low-stress environment, increases nutrients in the soil and helps maintain ground water levels.
a year ago

Most people agree that chocolate tastes great, but is there a way to make it taste even better? Perhaps, according to scientists who looked at different conditions that can put a strain on cocoa trees. Reporting in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they say that although the agricultural method used to grow cocoa trees doesn’t matter that much, the specific weather conditions do. 

Cocoa trees grow in hot and humid climates near the equator. Traditionally, these trees are raised together in mixed groves with other types of trees and plants that can cool the air and provide vital shade. The system, called agroforestry, provides a low-stress environment, increases nutrients in the soil and helps maintain ground water levels. But to gain higher yields, growers sometimes plant cocoa trees in solitary, “monocultural,” groves, in which the trees are exposed to stressful conditions. In response to the stress, tress produce antioxidants that can potentially counteract the damage, but these compounds also could change the quality characteristics of the beans. Wiebke Niether, Gerhard Gerold and colleagues from FiBL (Switzerland) wanted to find out whether differing growing methods can influence the chemical composition, and potentially the flavor, of cocoa beans.  

The researchers harvested beans from five cocoa tree farms in Bolivia at the beginning and end of the dry season, which runs from April to September. The trees were raised in full-sun monocultural groves or in agroforest settings. The beans were fermented and dried, then analyzed. The research team detected only minor differences in the chemical composition among the beans harvested from the farms during the same weather conditions. Slightly more phenols and other antioxidant compounds were detected in beans taken from monoculturally grown trees than those that came from trees grown with agroforest methods, but the differences were not significant, according to the researchers. The larger contribution to chemical composition was the weather. Overall, the antioxidant content increased and fat content of the beans decreased during the dry season as temperatures rose and soil moisture dropped. The researchers say these differences could contribute to variability in cocoa bean flavor. 

The authors acknowledge funding from Johannes-Hübner-Stiftung, Mrs. O.Riedl-Hübner, FiBL (Switzerland), the Biovision Foundation for Ecological Development, the Coop Sustainability Fund, the Liechtenstein Development Service and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. 

Source: American Chemical Society

Illustration Photo: cocoa tree (CC0 Creative Commons from Pixabay.com)

Read more

Comments

No comments to display.

Related posts

Call for Applications: Machines for Machine Intelligence

Garages hold a special place in the history of tech. They are the beginning of great things; a place where game-changing innovations are born and incubated. Machine Intelligence Garage is a programme that helps businesses access the computation power and expertise they need to develop and build machine learning and Artificial Intelligence solutions.
Application Deadline in 2 months

Call for Applications: Augmented reality facial hair styling challenge

P&G, international manufacturer of Gillette and Braun brands, is looking for a partner to provide a realistic solution to help men make an informed choice as to which facial hair style is right for them and then help them achieve the desired style at home by giving easy to follow, real time guidance on the best hair removal steps and techniques to achieve the chosen style.
Application Deadline in 11 days

Call for Applications: Spark.me Startup Competition

Spark.me Startup Competition offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to the winning team to present their idea in a TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019 Startup Alley, where “over 1,200 pre-series A startups and sponsors across all verticals will be showcasing their latest tech products, platforms, and services“.
Application Deadline in 21 days

Active Food Packaging Market Size, Share, Analysis and Forecast Trends to 2024

Search4Research.com adds latest research report on “Global Active Food Packaging Market”, it include and classifies the Global Active Food Packaging Market in a precise manner to offer detailed insights about the aspects responsible for augmenting as well as future trends and growth prospect details for business development.

Rehabilitation Robotics Market 2019 Emerging Trends and Growth

Search4Research.com adds latest research report on “Global Rehabilitation Robotics Market”, it include and classifies the Global Rehabilitation Robotics Market in a precise manner to offer detailed insights about the aspects responsible for augmenting as well as future trends and growth prospect details for business development.

Hemophilia Gene Therapy Market Growth by 2019 - Search4Research

Search4Research.com adds latest research report on “Global Hemophilia Gene Therapy Market”, it include and classifies the Global Hemophilia Gene Therapy Market in a precise manner to offer detailed insights about the aspects responsible for augmenting as well as future trends and growth prospect details for business development.

New Research Study 2019 - Hearable Devices Industry by Growth and Top Companies

Search4Research.com adds latest research report on “Global Hearable Devices Market”, it include and classifies the Global Hearable Devices Market in a precise manner to offer detailed insights about the aspects responsible for augmenting as well as future trends and growth prospect details for business development.

Greeting Cards Market New Investment Projects Review and Opportunities by 2024

Search4Research.com adds latest research report on “Global Greeting Cards Market”, it include and classifies the Global Greeting Cards Market in a precise manner to offer detailed insights about the aspects responsible for augmenting as well as future trends and growth prospect details for business development.

Increasing Demand for Organic Produce to Drive the Market Growth for Biopesticides

The overall biopesticides market is projected to grow from USD 3.0 billion in 2018 to USD 6.4 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 15.99% during the forecast period.