Cocoa beans are submitted to a curing process of fermentation and drying to develop flavor precursors . The beans must have reached maturity; otherwise, no amount of processing can produce the desired flavor . Early work with cacao cell cultures showed that only when the cells have "matured" co uld a chocolate or cocoa flavor result from further processing. Fermentation is therefore required because unfermented beans may develop little chocolate flavor when roasted . likewise , the outcome of excessive fermentation may also result in unwanted flavor . Thus , the first major post - harvesting phase t o have an impact on flavor development is that of fer mentation. During this phase of curing, the mucilagin ous pulp surrounding the beans undergoes an ethanol, acetic and lactic fermentation. The acid and heat generated kill the beans with a resulting change in cell membranes . This facilitates enzyme and substrate movement with notable swelling of the bean. Changes induced in the beans during the process affect the texture and flavor quality . This paper relates texture of the bean to cellular and subcellular transformations observed by scanning electron microscopy.
Lopez, A. S.; Dimick, P. S.; and Walsh, R. M.
"Scanning Electron Microscopy Studies of the Cellular Changes in Raw, Fermented and Dried Cocoa Beans,"
Food Structure: Vol. 6
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/foodmicrostructure/vol6/iss1/3