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Effect of post-harvest treatments on the occurrence of ochratoxin A in raw cocoa beans

Kedjebo K.B.D., Guehi T.S., Brou K., Durand N., Aguilar P., Fontana A., Montet D.. 2016. Food Additives and Contaminants. Part A. Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment, 33 (1) : p. 157-166.

DOI: 10.1080/19440049.2015.1112038

Cocoa beans are the principal raw material for chocolate manufacture. Moulds have an important place in the change in the quality of cocoa beans due to their role in the production of free fatty acids and mycotoxins, namely ochratoxin A (OTA). This study investigated the impact of the key post-harvest treatments, namely the fermentation and drying methods on OTA contamination of raw cocoa beans. Analytical methods for OTA detection were based on solid¿liquid extraction, clean-up using an immunoaffinity column, and identification by reversed-phase HPLC with fluorescence detection. Of a total of 104 randomly selected cocoa samples analysed, 32% had OTA contents above 2 µg kg¿1. Cocoa sourced from pods in a bad state of health had a maximum OTA content of 39.2 µg kg¿1, while that obtained from healthy pods recorded 11.2 µg kg¿1. The production of OTA in cocoa beans increased according to the pod-opening delay and reached 39.2 µg kg¿1 after an opening delay of 7 days after harvest, while 6.1 and 11.2 µg kg¿1 were observed when pods were opened after 0 and 4 days. OTA production also seemed to depend considerably to the cocoa fermentation materials. When using plastic boxes for bean fermentation, the OTA production was enhanced and reached an average OTA content of about 4.9 µg kg¿1, while the raw cocoa treated in banana leaves and wooden boxes recorded 1.6 and 2.2 µg kg¿1 on average respectively. In parallel, the OTA production was not really influenced by either the mixing or the duration of the fermentation or the drying materials.

Mots-clés : fève de cacao; contamination biologique; ochratoxine; technologie après récolte; séchage; fermentation; qualité; côte d'ivoire

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