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UPLB scientists concoct better tablea chocolate

Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - November 14, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philipines-Los Baños biotechnology scientists have developed a better “tablea tsokalate” that does not have the grainy texture and bitter, burnt-like taste being produced by local chocolate producers.

The UPLB scientists, led by Dr. Jessica Simbahan, investigated cacao fermentation practices in various parts of the country, and then developed a formula for a better textured and more delicious tablea chocolate product that could be adopted by Filipino cacao processors and tablea chocolate manufacturers.

The study, funded by the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD), developed a concoction of carefully selected yeasts, lactic acid bacteria and other beneficial fungi isolated from local cacao fermentation.

The concoction, called a starter culture, can be introduced to natural cocoa fermentation environment to enhance or hasten the fermentation process and produce consistent product quality.

The resulting product will be one of the attractions of this year’s celebration of the National Biotechnology Week spearheaded by the DOST.

The DOST will stage a taste test at the DOST booth during opening day of the week-long event on Nov. 23 at SM City Dasmariñas in Cavite.

Cacao beans, from which chocolates are made, must first undergo fermentation wherein bacteria, yeasts, and other microorganisms chemically break down the beans.

Fermentation takes around three to six days and is usually carried out in baskets, boxes, trays or heaps covered with banana leaves. This process gives chocolates a fuller and richer flavor and aroma.

Apart from the starter culture, Simbahan’s team also developed a “Cacao Best Practices Manual” that will be released soon for the benefit of local cocoa bean farmers and processors.

These projects ultimately aim to produce better quality products that are locally and globally competitive.

The National Biotechnology Week aims to highlight the contributions of biotechnology or the use of biological processes, organisms, cells or cellular components to develop new technologies for use in agriculture, health, and environment among others.

ACIRC ATILDE CACAO BEST PRACTICES MANUAL CAVITE CITY DASMARI DEPARTMENT OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY-PHILIPPINE COUNCIL DR. JESSICA SIMBAHAN EMERGING TECHNOLOGY RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT FERMENTATION NATIONAL BIOTECHNOLOGY WEEK UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPINES-LOS BA
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