Ghanaian cocoa hybrids have no nutritional drawbacks

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cocoa, Nutrition, Chocolate, Antioxidant, International cocoa organisation

Four hybrid cocoa species developed in Ghana to have improved
resistance to pest damage during storage have similar nutritional
properties to conventional cocoa, says a study that topples a
barrier to commercial trade.

Ghana is one of the world's largest cocoa producers. According to the International Cocoa Organisation the country's commercial crop in 2005/2006 reached a record high of 646,000 tonnes. However while cocoa consumption has increased in the last decade, the researchers of the study from the University of Nottingham, UK, say that yield has been on the decline. To combat this, and to help deal with disease and pest resistance issues, a number of hybrids have been developed. The researchers say that while these are not yet in commercial use, they are likely to be introduced in the near future. "However, very little is known about the level of key nutrients and phenolics in these hybrids,"​ wrote the researchers, led by Gregory Tucker. This is an issue given the increasing attention to the health benefits of cocoa and its growing reputation as a source of dietary antioxidants linked to protection against cardiovascular disease. Polyphenols identified in the cocoa bean make-up include several different catechins, as well as procyanins, anthocyanins, and flavone and flavonol glycosides. Tucker and team therefore set out to determine the phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of five kinds of cocoa - Amazon/Trinitario hybrids, two different Amazon/Amazon hybrids, Amazon/Amelonado hybrids, and the traditional cocoa type. They wanted to see whether there could be any impact on the nutrient content. Total extractable phenolics were seen to be similar in all four of the hybrids, ranging from 69.9 to 81.6 FAE g -1. These levels are also similar to those of traditional cocoa beans. The team then determined the phenolic profile using HPLC. They observed a total of 25 peaks, with only minor differences between the hybrid profiles and that of the traditional beans. Most interestingly, when the researchers determined the antioxidant capacity using the FRAP test, traditional beans were seen to have levels of 12.4 micro-mol TEg -1. The capacities of the hybrid beans, on the other hand, were seen to range from 21.6 to 45.5 micro-mol TEg -1. "Since the phenolic and antioxidant levels in these hybrid varieties were either similar to, or higher than, that obtained from traditional beans, the introduction of these new varieties would be unlikely to impact detrimentally on these nutritional components of the beans,"​ concluded Tucker. Several of the major chocolate manufacturers have been investigating the healthy properties of cocoa, such as Mars, Nestle, Barry Callebaut and Natraceutical. A review of the research to date conducted by Nestle and published last year in the British Journal of Nutrition​ concluded that future of research into the potential health benefits of cocoa should focus on the mechanisms and active compounds, with well defined clinical trials key to this burgeoning segment. The majority of studies to date using flavonoid-rich cocoa have focussed on potential benefits for cardiovascular health, while a small number of studies have reported benefits for diabetes and skin health. Sources Food Chemistry​ 108 (2008) 1155-1159 DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2007.12.001 "Phenolic content and antioxidant capacity of hybrid variety cocoa beans" ​Authors: WA Jonfia-Essien, G West, PG Alderson, G Tucker British Journal of Nutrition​ Published on-line ahead of print, Forthcoming Article, doi: 10.1017/S0007114507795296 "Cocoa and health: a decade of research"​Authors: Karen A. Cooper, J.L. Donovan, A.L. Waterhouse and G. Williamson

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Hygienic Pigging for Food & Beverage Companies

Hygienic Pigging for Food & Beverage Companies

HPS Product Recovery Solutions | 01-Jul-2019 | Technical / White Paper

Hygienic product recovery (pigging) is in wide use in the food and beverage industry. It gives high ROI and rapid payback.

Pigging recovers...

Accelerate your supply chain as pressures intensify

Accelerate your supply chain as pressures intensify

William Reed | 04-Oct-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Food, Drink and Non-Food manufacturers are under pressure. Range reviews, massive retail mergers, the backlash against plastic packaging and the ongoing...

New generation of healthy baking powder

New generation of healthy baking powder

Jungbunzlauer | 14-May-2018 | Technical / White Paper

Jungbunzlauer is presenting a healthy baking powder based on microencapsulated glucono-delta-lactone with sodium or potassium bicarbonate. The combinations...

Does Europe Want to Ban Palm Oil?

Does Europe Want to Ban Palm Oil?

The Oil Palm | 12-Feb-2018 | Business Advice

The European Parliament has voted to ban Palm Oil biofuels under the Renewable Energy Directive. There is one key question the Council of the European...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more