New flavors emerge from Peruvian cacao collection trip

Sep 26, 2011

New cacao types with unique flavors that are distinctly Peruvian have been identified by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists. These new flavors could one day be marketed like wine, by geographical provenance.

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists at the agency's Sustainable Laboratory (SPCL) and Systematic Mycology and Microbiology Laboratory (SMML), both in Beltsville, Md., and Peruvian collaborators found these new cacao plants during collection expeditions in 2008 and 2009 in the of Peru.

ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency, and this research supports the USDA priority of promoting international food security.

The researchers found hundreds of new cacao tree samples during the trips. One of these, discovered by collaborators from Maranon Chocolate, was Pure Nacional, an old, very rare, and highly coveted variety that has garnered a great deal of interest from makers of fine-flavored chocolates. Chocolate is produced from cacao.

This industry covets new and unique flavor sources. Usually, are found along rivers, but these gems were found at a higher altitude than normal, and in Peru instead of Ecuador or Venezuela.

SPCL research leader Lyndel Meinhardt and geneticist Dapeng Zhang collaborated with the Instituto de Cultivos Tropicales (ICT), a research center in San Martin, Peru, to identify the new varieties of cacao. The researchers are studying 342 cacao specimens collected from 12 watersheds and categorizing the DNA of the specimens.

ARS and ICT are helping Peru create its own niche in the chocolate industry by working with San Martin's Oro Verde cooperative and Maranon . Peru's tropical conditions-60 percent of the country is covered in tropical forest-make it ideal for producing , and specialty chocolates.

Explore further: Genetic study shows major impact of climate change on Antarctic fur seals

More information: Read more about this research in the September 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine. www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/sep11/cacao0911.htm

Provided by United States Department of Agriculture

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Sambirano chocolate bars are recalled

Jul 09, 2007

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced the voluntary recall of Scharffen Berger Kumasi Sambirano chocolate bars because of mislabeling.

The chocolate genome, unwrapped

Oct 28, 2010

Halloween is about monsters, ghouls and most of all, goodies. Kids might be more concerned about the quantity of treats that drop into their plastic pumpkin baskets than their quality -- but for chocolate, ...

Recommended for you

Where have all the swallows gone?

10 hours ago

Extinction: the permanent loss of a species. It is deeply troubling—and scientists and birdwatchers are ringing the alarm about a bird species that only a few decades ago was widespread and very common.

Wildlife hospitals save 16,000 animals in four years

12 hours ago

Birds are the most commonly rescued wildlife in Queensland, with the laughing kookaburra among our hardiest species, according to new research from The University of Queensland's Gatton Campus.

User comments : 0