Quality and Handling Assessment Research Projects (11)

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Identification of Selection Traits to Maximise Cocoa Productivity and Quality in a Changing Environment.

Funded by CRUK
» University of Reading
(2010 to 2016)
Researchers: Prof.P.Hadley, Dr. A.Daymond, Dr. J.Dunwell
A project involving two PhD students to investigate the potential effects of climate change on the growth, physiology and quality of different genotypes of cocoa. The research will be largely undertaken in the new controlled environment glass house facilities at the University of Reading which allow the quantification of factors such as temperature, CO2 and water stress. Fiona Lahive published her PhD thesis entitled "An examination of the impacts of climate change variables on growth and photosynthesis in Theobroma cacao L." in 2015. Her research showed that the responses and interactions varied according to the age of the plants (seedling v older budded plants), and that there were some differences in these responses amongst the limited number of genotypes studied. Liam Handley is studying the effects of environmental variables on flower and fruit development

Variation in uptake and partitioning of Cadmium within contrasting cocoa genotypes and methods of reducing Cadmium accumulation.

Funded by CRUK
» University of Reading
(2010 to 2015)
Researchers: P. Hadley, J. Dunwell, N.Cryer, I.Ullah
A post-doctoral research project to investigate the genetic and soil/root environment factors affecting cadmium uptake by cocoa with a view to developing molecular tools to screen for rootstock varieties which accumulate less cadmium even when grown in volcanic soils which contain naturally higher levels.

Understanding Seasonal Variability in Quality, Yield and Disease Resistance.

Funded by CRUK and LNV Sustainable Cocoa Subsidy Scheme (Dutch Buffer Stock)
» University of Reading
» University of Aberystwyth
(2005 to 2010)
Researchers: Prof. Paul Hadley, Prof. Mike Wilkinson, Dr. Nicholas Cryer, Dr. Penny Tricker, Dr. Carlos Rodriguez-Lopez, Dr. Vladimir Bruhkin
A post-doctoral research project co-funded by the Government of the Netherlands to investigate the control of plant development and its response to environmental conditions and stresses caused by biotic and abiotic factors at the molecular level. This research contributed to our understanding of how regions and genes across the genome are differentially silenced or activated in response to environmental changes and developmental progression. Attention was focused on identifying environmentally sensitive regions of the genome that affect bean quality and yield potential. The results generated are being integrated with existing global genomics and transcriptomics research efforts to identify the particular genes involved and to define conditions for optimal gene expression. In the longer term, this work will assist in the breeding of clones that are well adapted to local conditions and will greatly improve the power of existing genetics research efforts.

Cocoa quality by NIR.

Funded by CRUK
» University of Nottingham
(2004 to 2004)
Researcher: Dr P.C. Garnsworthy
A feasability study to determine potential use of NIR to replace cut test to assess cocoa quality.

Temperature & Relative Humidity in Containerised Cocoa.

Funded by CRUK
» Cambridge Refridgeration Technology Ltd
(2004 to 2004)
Researcher: J. Frith
This research was undertaken to monitor temperature and humidity conditions in containers of cocoa as they are shipped from producing countries to Europe.

Determination of Desirable Cocoa Germplasm Characteristics for Optimal Yield and Quality.

Funded by CRUK
» University of Reading
(2001 to 2004)
Researchers: P. Hadley, A.Daymond
A post-doctoral research project to investigate the responses of different varieties of cocoa to changes in temperature, light levels and water stress under greenhouse and field conditions with a view to matching varieties to local growing conditions.

Sampling Containerised Cocoa

Funded by CRUK
(2000 to 2000)
Researcher: Dr. A.Moxon

Revision of the ‘Cocoa Beans: Chocolate Manufacturers' Quality Requirements’ booklet

Funded by BCCCA
» BCCCA
(1996 to 1996)
The revision of BCCCA’s booklet ‘Cocoa Beans: Chocolate Manufacturers’ Quality Requirements’ was undertaken by Dr. John Clapperton, a well known expert in cocoa flavour and other aspects of cocoa quality, in consultation with industry experts. The resulting Fourth Edition of the book was published in October 1996 and has continued to be a well regarded source of information on aspects of quality management including Good Agricultural Practice and Good Manufacturing Practice, incorporating new knowledge and understanding of factors affecting flavour, food hygiene and IPM.

Using an NMR method to analyse cocoa butter content of samples from BAL Plantations

Funded by BCCCA
» University of Reading
» BAL Plantations Sdn Bhd
(1994 to 1995)
Researchers: Prof. P. Hadley, Dr. M. End

Research to Identify the Origins of Cocoa Flavour Characteristics

Funded by BCCCA and BAL Plantations, Sabah, Malaysia
» University of Reading
» BAL Plantations Sdn Bhd
(1990 to 1992)
Researcher: Dr. John Clapperton
The BCCCA Flavour project sought to gain a better understanding of the factors influencing cocoa flavour, and particularly the production of undesirable off-flavours, and exploring ways in which these may be minimised or avoided. During the project protocols were established for post-harvest processing, including small-scale fermentation techniques which could enable samples as small as 0.75kg beans to be fermented in a heap of mixed beans with highly satisfactory results. Protocols were also developed for tasting of standard liquor samples by trained panelists allowing flavour to be evaluated on a reproduceable basis. The research found a very clear flavour difference between families of genotypes and demonstrated that flavour was influenced strongly by the mother tree, irrespective of the pollen donor, and that flavour characteristics are heritable.

Sampling Megabulk cocoa

Funded by CRUK
"Understanding the factors affecting the quality of cocoa that reflects the requirements of manufacturers"