26/02/2021 - Cartagena. Ecuadorian cocoa already has a tool to certify the origin and quality of its beans. This is thanks to a doctoral thesis by Iván Samaniego. It has just been defended at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena (UPCT). This was reported by sources at the educational institution in a statement. By evaluating the biochemical composition of cocoa beans, the thesis allows to establish genetic origin, flavor, aroma, fermentation level and other attributes. They define the quality of this product and vary depending on the geographical area of cultivation.
This thesis of the UPCT, directed by Cristina García-Viguera, of the CEBAS-CSIC of Murcia, and by Pedro Mena, of the Italian University of Parma, has generated a database. It allows to know the quality of the cocoa beans of different production areas in Ecuador. This allows the Ecuadorian cocoa sector to identify production areas with relevant characteristics that give added value to the product, certify the origin and improve prices in the international market.
Ecuador is a traditionally agricultural country, much of its development comes from cocoa production; which generates significant sources of economic income and provides work for thousands of people. It is considered the eighth largest producer of cocoa and the first
global producer of fine cocoa and aroma due to its unique quality in the world, contributing 50% of the supply of this market segment
Objectives of the Research of this Thesis of the UPCT
The research proposes a method that allows to establish the genetic origin, the flavor, the aroma, the level of fermentation and other attributes that define the quality of this product and that vary depending on the geographical area of cultivation.
Justification of the Investigation
In the field of the food industry, there is a very special interest in exploring the area of functional foods, since every day we seek to direct production towards a healthy diet that provides greater nutritional benefits. In this context, the industry has been forced to innovate, improving its adaptability with the aim of offering quality products. For this, the inclusion of substances of natural origin extracted from a plant source has been considered in the development of new products, since phytonutrients contribute to the health and proper functioning of the organism
Type and Design of the Research used in this Thesis of the UPCT
The experimental research was carried out at the National Agricultural Research Institute of Ecuador (INIAP). It was carried out with samples collected at the Litoral Sur Experimental Station, in the province of Guayas. Laboratory analyses and statistical treatment were also carried out at the CEBAS-CSIC in Murcia and at the University of Parma (Italy).
The Doctoral program in Advanced Agricultural and Food Research and Development Techniques (TAIDA), in which this thesis of the UPCT was developed, allowed to complete the training of the doctoral student. Researchers from the Polytechnic of Cartagena and CEBAS-CSIC form an associated unit specialized in quality and risk assessment in food.
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