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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Website UMR SPO - INRA Montpellier

PhD Noémie Fayeulle

Identify key molecules of sensory quality in cocoa seeds in order to predict their sensory characteristics

To ensure and optimize its chocolate production’s sensory properties, our industrial partner (Valrhona SA, Tain l’Hermitage) controls its cocoa seeds quality using sensory analysis on the corresponding chocolate made with a standardized process for each sample. This approach is time consuming and rest upon a large trained sensory jury, this is why our industrial partner wants to find molecular biomarkers of the cocoa seeds sensory quality that could be used as a base of a quality control. Cocoas seeds quality varies over multiple factors such as genotype, post-harvest treatment, and chocolate making process. It is linked to the macronutrients composition as well as the volatile and non-volatile compounds. As the flavour perception is a complex process, it is essential to pair sensorial and instrumental analysis to study food flavours. The content of sapid molecules such as polyphenols (one of the main component of the cocoa seeds) or acids may have an impact on the final product’s perception. This is why it is important to characterize them and precisely quantify them in order to estimate their impact on the chocolate flavour perception. Their characterisation according to the different matrices and according to their evolution along the chocolate making process will allow us to measure their influence on the final product’s quality and to define if they may be considered as biomarkers.

To reach those objectives, this work aims to link the differences obtained with the sensorial analysis and the nature/quantity of the polyphenolic compounds found in the different matrices (i.e. sensory poles). 3 steps are therefore planned:

-Identify key sensory biomarkers from each different sensory poles

-Develop and validate a quantification method for the biomarkers in the cocoa beans that can be applied to hundreds of samples

-Build a mathematical model that allows predicting to which sensory poles the analysed cocoa beans belong using chemometrics.

  • Period : 02/05/2016 - 15/05/2019
  • Supervisor : Nicolas Sommerer (INRA Montpellier, UMR SPO)
  • Co-supervisors : Renaud Boulanger (CIRAD Montpellier, UMR QualiSud); Véronique Cheynier (INRA Montpellier, UMR SPO); Clotilde Hue (Valrhona SA)
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