Microbiota dynamics and diversity at different stages of industrial processing of cocoa beans into cocoa powder

Lídia J R Lima, Vera van der Velpen, Judith Wolkers-Rooijackers, Henri J Kamphuis, Marcel H Zwietering, M J Rob Nout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


We sampled a cocoa powder production line to investigate the impact of processing on the microbial community size and diversity at different stages. Classical microbiological methods were combined with 16S rRNA gene PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, coupled with clone library construction, to analyze the samples. Aerobic thermoresistant spores (ThrS) (100°C; 10 min) were also isolated and characterized (identity, genetic diversity, and spore heat resistance), in view of their relevance to the quality of downstream heat-treated cocoa-flavored drinks. In the nibs (broken, shelled cocoa beans), average levels of total aerobic microorganisms (TAM) (4.4 to 5.6 log CFU/g) and aerobic total spores (TS) (80°C; 10 min; 4.3 to 5.5 log CFU/g) were significantly reduced (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2904-2913
Number of pages10
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2012


  • Bacteria, Aerobic
  • Biodiversity
  • Biota
  • Cacao
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • DNA, Ribosomal
  • Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis
  • Food Handling
  • Industrial Microbiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA

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