Histological features of phenolic compounds in fine and bulk cocoa seed (<em>Theobroma cacao</em> L.)


  • S. Elwers
  • A. Zambrano
  • C. Rohsius
  • R. Lieberei


Phenolic compounds contribute substantially to the quality of cocoa. In the present study the storage of polyphenols in ripe cocoa seed cotyledons from different genetic origins is compared via light microscopy. Besides, polyphenol accumulation is observed in maturing cocoa cotyledon tissues.
About 10 % of the cocoa cotyledon parenchyma is formed by polyphenol cells, which occur in clusters and lines of up to ten cells. Higher amounts of polyphenol cells are located around the vascular bundles. Cotyledons of Criollo genotypes are composed of larger storage cells than the ones of Forastero and Nacional cocoa. In general during ripening, the polyphenol accumulation is completed earlier than that of fat and storage proteins.
It is assumed that the larger polyphenol and storage cells of Criollo seeds may contribute to the unique quality of this fine flavour cocoa.