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Study of the genetic diversity of cocoa populations (Theobroma cacao L.) of Martinique (FWI) and potential for processing and the cocoa industry

Adenet S., Regina F., Rogers D., Bharath S., Argout X., Rochefort K., Cilas C.. 2020. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution, 67 : p. 1969-1979.

DOI: 10.1007/s10722-020-00953-0

The establishment of cocoa (Theobroma cacao L.) in Martinique is an old story. Some authors believe that the first cocoa trees were planted there by the native Caribbean people, while others indicate that cocoa was introduced in the seventeenth century. Since then, the history of cocoa farming in Martinique has been punctuated by different waves of introduction from various countries and by cyclonic episodes that ravaged its cultivation. Today, there are many cocoa trees coming from this turbulent history and this current study has started to better understand the genetic diversity of the current orchards. Our interest in Martiniquan cocoa also comes from very encouraging results on aromatic properties of chocolates made with Martiniquan beans. A total of 161 cocoa trees located from the different regions of the island were genotyped, using a set of SNP markers. Sensory descriptive profiles of the chocolates comings from these trees were carried out by a provider laboratory, according to the sensory method described by AFNOR (French Agency for Standardization) NF ISO 11035 (July 1995). We observed a genetic diversity within the Martiniquan cocoa orchards with a genetic admixture consisting of ancestry of 6 out of the 10 Theobroma cacao ancestral genetic groups which testifies to these numerous waves of introduction; the main representative ancestry group is Amelonado, then Criollo. The first tests of sensory analysis revealed a strong aromatic potential of Martiniquan cocoa, probably due to a favorable terroir effect.

Mots-clés : theobroma cacao; diversité génétique (comme ressource); propriété organoleptique; martinique; terroir

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