Chapter

Botany and Pharmacognosy of the Cacao Tree

Authors:
  • Fondazione Alpina per le Scienze della Vita, Olivone, Switzerland
  • Alpine Foundation for Life Sciences, Blenio, Switzerland
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Abstract

Cacao trees originated in river valleys of South America and, by the seventh century AD, the Mayan Indians had brought them north into Mexico. Apart from the Mayans, many other Central American Indians including the Aztecs and the Toltecs seem to have at first domesticated and then cultivated cacao trees, and the word chocolate (the beverage) derives from xhocolatl (approximate spelling) or cacahuatl, both originating from the Aztec language. There are several mixtures of cacao described in ancient texts, for ceremonial, medicinal and culinary purposes. Some mixtures included maize, chili, vanilla (Vanilla planifolia), peanut butter and honey. Archaeological evidence of the use of cacao, while relatively sparse, has come from the recovery of whole cacao beans in Uaxactun, Guatemala and from the preservation of wood fragments of the cacao tree at the Belize sites (ex British Honduras). In addition, analysis of residues from ceramic vessels has found traces of theobromine and caffeine in early formative vessels from Puerto Escondido, Honduras (1100-900 BC) and in middle formative vessels from Colha, Belize (600-400 BC) [1], [2].

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... Cocoa products are richer in magnesium than black tea, red wine and apples Steinberg et al. (2003). Magnesium is an important cofactor in many reactions of cellular metabolism, thus it catalyses many biological reactions, such as protein synthesis, transmission of nerve impulses, muscle movements, energy production and in the fixation of bones and teeth (Soetan et al., 2010 andColombo et al., 2011). ...
... However, the non-haem iron in cocoa limits intestinal absorption by 5 to 10%, compared with the higher intestinal absorption of haem iron contained in meat (20-30%). The low absorption of non-haem iron from cocoa can be noted in the presence of ascorbic acid (Colombo et al., 2011). ...
... Copper is involved in multiple enzymatic reactions including collagen and neurotransmitter synthesis (Arredondo et al., 2005) A copper-deficient diet can lead to cardiovascular disease later in life. Divo "Forastero" cocoa is a good source of copper (Colombo et al., 2011). ...
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The aim of this study is to contribute to the valorization of the cocoa bean varieties “Mercedes” and “Forastero” grown in Côte d’Ivoire. A comparative characterisation of phenolic compounds and minerals in the beans of the “Mercedes” and “Forastero” varieties from two major cocoa production areas of Côte d’Ivoire were determined. The phenolic compounds of cocoa beans were determined by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and the minerals by atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The study showed that a significant difference at the 5% level was observed in the averages of minerals, cinnamic acid, protocatechic acid, quercetin, coumaric acid, rutin, ellagic acid, veratric acid, epicatechin, ferulic acid and naringenin. On the other hand, no significant difference at the 5% level was observed in the averages of arbutin, catechin, vanillic acid and caffeic acid in the bean kernels analysed in the Divo and Abengourou regions. The proportion of cinnamic acid is (6.18±0.63 mg/100g “Mercedes” Divo), that of ellagic acid is (18.48±0.44 mg/100g “Mercedes” Divo) and that of naringenin is (5.95±0.35 mg/100g “Mercedes” Divo). The amount of potassium is (7569.97±1.51 mg/kg “Forastero” of Abengourou) and that of iron is (179.9 ± 0.70 mg/Kg “Forastero” of Divo). The phenolic compounds and minerals in the cocoa bean samples analysed are highly correlated and rich in antioxidants. They would be beneficial for many biological functions. They can be recommended in pharmacology and cosmetics to fight against oxidative stress and cardiovascular diseases.
... Factor-β (TGFβ) ou l'interleukine-4. Les polyphénols du cacao exercent des effets significatifs sur la production de ces cytokines, une action anti-inflammatoire majeure sur la production de TGFβ (Sies et al., 2005 ;Selmi et al., 2008 ;Ramino-puig et castell, 2009 ;Schinella et al., 2010 ;Andújar et al., 2012 ;Becker et al., 2013 "xocolatl" (aztèque) avec "Xococ" qui veut dire « amer » et "atl" qui fait allusion à l'eau (Colombo et al., 2012). La famille botanique du cacao est de nos jours connu sous le nom de malvaceae (Colombo et al., 2012 Certains pays comme ceux de l'Amérique centrale sont également de fortes zones de production. ...
... Les polyphénols du cacao exercent des effets significatifs sur la production de ces cytokines, une action anti-inflammatoire majeure sur la production de TGFβ (Sies et al., 2005 ;Selmi et al., 2008 ;Ramino-puig et castell, 2009 ;Schinella et al., 2010 ;Andújar et al., 2012 ;Becker et al., 2013 "xocolatl" (aztèque) avec "Xococ" qui veut dire « amer » et "atl" qui fait allusion à l'eau (Colombo et al., 2012). La famille botanique du cacao est de nos jours connu sous le nom de malvaceae (Colombo et al., 2012 Certains pays comme ceux de l'Amérique centrale sont également de fortes zones de production. Les sous variétés les plus cultivées sont Ocumare 61 et Chuao (Badrie et al., 2015). ...
... • (Colombo et al., 2012). ...
Thesis
La consommation régulière du chocolat est associée à des effets bénéfiques sur la santé, en particulier dans les pathologies associées à un syndrome inflammatoire chronique. Cette inflammation met en jeu le système immunitaire et les polyphénols du cacao semblent jouer un rôle sur ces effets, via la voie de NF-κb. Les procédés de transformation du cacao et notamment la fermentation dégradent les polyphénols contenus dans les fèves. En effet, la fermentation à elle seule, diminue de 90% la teneur des polyphénols initialement présents. Il est donc important de connaitre son impact sur la teneur et / ou la composition des polyphénols afin ensuite de pouvoir les associer aux activités antiinflammatoires et immunomodulatrices du cacao. Un lot de fèves de cacao de variété Forastero a été divisés en deux lots, le premier a été fermenté et l’autre non. Après délipidation de la poudre de cacao puis extraction des polyphénols, la teneur en polyphénols totaux des extraits a été déterminée par la méthode de Folin-Ciocalteu. Les composés chimiques présents dans les extraits de cacao ont été identifiés par UPLC-MS/UV. Les flavanols majoritaires identifiés ont été quantifiés par LC/MSMS. Les activités antioxydantes du cacao ont été évaluées avec le test DPPH et ORAC. Pour déterminer les activités immunomodulatrices, les teneurs en tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) et oxyde nitrique (NO) ont été déterminées. La viabilité cellulaire a été faite afin de d’évaluer la cytotoxicité des extraits de cacao sur les cellules J774A.1. Cette étude a montré que la fermentation a diminué la teneur en polyphénols et établi une corrélation entre cette teneur en composés phénoliques et les activités antioxydantes des extraits de cacao. Les extraits de cacao fermenté ou non ont stimulé la production de TNF-α, cependant l’étude sur les activités immunomodulatrices mérite d’être approfondie car le cacao fermenté ou non n’a eu aucun effet sur le NO produit par les cellules J774A.1. Par ailleurs, le cacao fermenté ou non n’a pas eu d’effet toxique sur les cellules J 774A.1. La fermentation a influé sur les activités immunomodulatrices du cacao selon le type de marqueurs en diminuant la production de TNF-α.
... The concentration of polyphenols varies depending on the plant and is influenced by genetic factors and environmental conditions. Polyphenols are very important phytochemicals, which have been suggested to contribute to the improvement of human health and the prevention Table 1 Composition of cocoa beans and carob pulp [1,5,8,9,12,20,29,32,[67][68][69][70][71][72][73][74][75] a Expressed as gallic acid equivalents (GAE) g per 100 g dry weight ...
... Cocoa contains methylxanthines, representing ~ 3% of the cocoa bean, stored in the cotyledons along with polyphenols [7]. Theobromine is the predominant one representing ~ 2%, while caffeine is found only in small amounts (~ 1%) and theophylline in trace amounts [12,92]. The average content of the individual methylxanthines depends on the genotype and origin of cocoa tree, the degree of ripeness and the fermentation process used [67,100,101]. ...
... The average content of the individual methylxanthines depends on the genotype and origin of cocoa tree, the degree of ripeness and the fermentation process used [67,100,101]. Furthermore, processing of cocoa beans affects the concentrations of methylxanthines and their content in cocoa products may significantly vary compared to cocoa beans [12,101,102]. In contrast to cocoa, caffeine and theobromine are either not detected or present in trace amounts in carob powder and carob products [32,103,104]. ...
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Cocoa originates from the beans of the cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao L.). It is an important commodity and the main ingredient in chocolate manufacture. Its value and quality are related to complex flavors and to its distinct sensory properties. The increasing demand for cocoa and its rising price urges the research for cocoa substitutes. A potential substitute for cocoa is carob. Carob is the fruit of an evergreen tree (Ceratonia siliqua L.) cultivated in the Mediterranean area, well known for its valuable locust bean gum and also for carob powder and syrup that are obtained from carob pulp. Cocoa beans and carob pods contain various phytochemicals including polyphenols, proteins and amino acids, fatty acids, carbohydrates and fiber. Phytochemicals represent an important source of nutrients and compounds that are beneficial to human health. In this review, phytochemicals in cocoa beans and carob pods and their impact on human health are reviewed. The bioactive compounds that are present in carob, in conjunction with the cocoa-like flavors and unique sensory properties that are enhanced by carob powder roasting, underline carob’s potential to substitute cocoa in various food products. These food applications are discussed in this review.
... Though, these proposed effects on glucose metabolism were not supported by the results of this study. In addition to flavanols, cocoa non-fat solids include several minerals such as potassium, calcium, copper, magnesium and selenium (Colombo, Pinorini-Godly, & Conti, 2012), and also minor amounts of DF. Cocoa non-fat solids include also theobromine and caffeine (caffeine in relatively low amounts compared to those found in coffee and tea), which almost is absent in other components of the chocolate. ...
... The predominant fatty acids in cocoa butter are saturated, and the fatty acid composition include relatively high ratios of stearic-and oleic acids (stearic 35% and palmitic 25%, oleic 35%). Although saturated, stearic acid has shown a favourable influence on cholesterol pattern compared with other saturated fatty acids (Colombo et al., 2012). ...
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Cocoa is a well acknowledged polyphenol-rich functional product. However, the mechanisms and effects of cocoa products on glucose metabolism and appetite regulation are not clear. A crossover randomised study was carried out in twenty (4male; 16female) healthy middle-age (62.6 ± 6.5 yr) subjects with normal BMI (23.0 ± 2.0 kg/m2). Effects on postprandial glucose-, insulin- and subjective appetite responses to a preload (30 min) of 70% dark-chocolate (DC), with and without a preceding 4-week DC intervention, were evaluated. SCFA (acetate, propionate and butyrate), BDNF, GLP-1, and PYY were determined in plasma at fasting. An isocaloric white-chocolate-like product (CP) was included as a control. DC increased (main effects; p < 0.05) glucose- and insulin responses in comparison with CP. Postprandial hunger sensations were reduced (p < 0.05), whereas acetate and propionate were higher (p < 0.05) after 4-week DC intervention. The results suggest that cocoa may play a role in appetite regulation, however the unexpected increase in postprandial glucose- and insulin concentrations requires further investigation.
... Cocoa polyphenolic profile and concentration varies depending on the type of cultivar, quality of crop and cultivation site, geographic area, and the climate. Its content also considerably varies among different cocoa products, influenced by processing and manufacturing steps [23,24]. To estimate their variations, researchers examined the polyphenol profiles and antioxidant properties of different cocoa liquor samples from six different geographic places (Madagascar, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Sao Tome, and Ghana). ...
... During this step, epicatechins and soluble polyphenols reduce by 10-20% due to oxidation and cocoa Cocoa polyphenolic profile and concentration varies depending on the type of cultivar, quality of crop and cultivation site, geographic area, and the climate. Its content also considerably varies among different cocoa products, influenced by processing and manufacturing steps [23,24]. To estimate their variations, researchers examined the polyphenol profiles and antioxidant properties of different cocoa liquor samples from six different geographic places (Madagascar, Mexico, Ecuador, Venezuela, Sao Tome, and Ghana). ...
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Cocoa and its products are rich sources of polyphenols such as flavanols. These compounds exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities, accountable for cocoa health-promoting effects. However, cocoa polyphenols are poorly absorbed in the intestine, and most of them cannot reach the systemic circulation in their natural forms. Instead, their secondary bioactive metabolites are bioavailable, enter the circulation, reach the target organs, and exhibit their activities. In fact, once reaching the intestine, cocoa polyphenols interact bidirectionally with the gut microbiota. These compounds can modulate the composition of the gut microbiota exerting prebiotic mechanisms. They enhance the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, such as Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, while reducing the number of pathogenic ones, such as Clostridium perfringens. On the other hand, bioactive cocoa metabolites can enhance gut health, displaying anti-inflammatory activities, positively affecting immunity, and reducing the risk of various diseases. This review aims to summarize the available knowledge of the bidirectional interaction between cocoa polyphenols and gut microbiota with their various health outcomes.
... 16,35 Controlled clinical studies with healthy volunteers demonstrated reduced platelet reactivity to ADP-and epinephrine in whole blood and to collagen in PRP after the intake of standardized T. cacao seed water extracts [36][37][38] that is parallel to reduced TXA2 formation. 39 On the other hand, peripheral vasodilation, via activation of the vascular endothelium nitric oxide system, was demonstrated in healthy volunteers who consumed flavanol-rich cocoa beverages 40,41 , Furthermore, a cocoa extract inhibited the secretion of inflammatory mediators from macrophages in vitro, 42 providing another plausible mechanism for the antiplatelet effect. Catequin, epicatequin, rutin and procyanidin are major active principles associated to cacao antiplatelet activity. ...
... The chemical components of cocoa beans are strongly influenced by varieties or clones, climates, places of growth, fruit maturity levels, and post-harvest processing [18]. Cocoa beans are an essential source of minerals and chocolate as one of the cocoa processed products has potential as the source of human diet [6], [14]. ...
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The cocoa bean shell (CBS) is a valuable by-product obtained from the chocolate industry. It is rich in protein, minerals, ash and some valuable bioactive compounds. One of the post-harvest processes affecting the mineral contents in CBS is fermentation. The purpose of this study is to determine the mineral contents in CBS of Sulawesi 1, Sulawesi 2, and MCC 02 clones for 24, 48, 72, 96, and 120 h of fermentation. Method analysis was used Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. Research will be conducted at the Laboratory of Chemical and Microbiology Testing, Center for Plantation Based Industry. The results showed that types of clones, fermentation time, and their interaction affect mineral contents in CBS. The highest mineral contents of CBS were Ca in Sulawesi 2 clone (48 h), Mg (96 h) and Na (48 h) in Sulawesi 1 clone, while K (24 h) and Zn (120 h) in MCC 02 clone. Total mineral contents of CBS were significantly affected by fermentation and types of clones.
... However, its production represents only 5% of the world cacao beans production, due to its low resistance to pests. Trinitario is a hybrid between the Criollo and Forastero trees that combines good-quality flavor and aroma with pest and disease resistance [1,2]. ...
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The interest in cacao flavanols is still growing, as bioactive compounds with potential benefits in the prevention of chronic diseases associated with inflammation, oxidative stress and metabolic disorders. Several analytical methodologies support that the flavanols in cacao-derived products can be absorbed, have bioactive properties, and thus can be responsible for their beneficial effects on human health. However, it must be considered that their biological actions and underlying molecular mechanisms will depend on the concentrations achieved in their target tissues. Based on the antioxidant properties of cacao flavanols, this review focuses on recent advances in research regarding their potential to improve metabolic syndrome risk factors. Additionally, it has included other secondary plant metabolites that have been investigated for their protective effects against metabolic syndrome. Studies using laboratory animals or human subjects represent strong available evidence for biological effects of cacao flavanols. Nevertheless, in vitro studies are also included to provide an overview of these phytochemical mechanisms of action. Further studies are needed to determine if the main cacao flavanols or their metabolites are responsible for the observed health benefits and which are their precise molecular mechanisms.
... Several ethanobotanical uses have been described like antidiabetic, antiulcer, antitumor, antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiallergic and other activities to these plants 19,20 . Chilly (Capsicum annum) is a perennial plant belonging to Solanaceae family; it is often added to tonics and is said to be unequalled for warding off diseases 20,21 . Recently it is shown to cure free radical-mediated neurodegenerative disease 22 . ...
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For some classes of dietary polyphenols, there are now sufficient intervention studies to indicate the type and magnitude of effects among humans in vivo, on the basis of short-term changes in biomarkers. Isoflavones (genistein and daidzein, found in soy) have significant effects on bone health among postmenopausal women, together with some weak hormonal effects. Monomeric catechins (found at especially high concentrations in tea) have effects on plasma antioxidant biomarkers and energy metabolism. Procyanidins (oligomeric catechins found at high concentrations in red wine, grapes, cocoa, cranberries, apples, and some supplements such as Pycnogenol) have pronounced effects on the vascular system, including but not limited to plasma antioxidant activity. Quercetin (the main representative of the flavonol class, found at high concentrations in onions, apples, red wine, broccoli, tea, and Ginkgo biloba) influences some carcinogenesis markers and has small effects on plasma antioxidant biomarkers in vivo, although some studies failed to find this effect. Compared with the effects of polyphenols in vitro, the effects in vivo, although significant, are more limited. The reasons for this are 1) lack of validated in vivo biomarkers, especially in the area of carcinogenesis; 2) lack of long-term studies; and 3) lack of understanding or consideration of bioavailability in the in vitro studies, which are subsequently used for the design of in vivo experiments. It is time to rethink the design of in vitro and in vivo studies, so that these issues are carefully considered. The length of human intervention studies should be increased, to more closely reflect the long-term dietary consumption of polyphenols.
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A revised and updated classification for the families of flowering plants is provided. Many recent studies have yielded increasingly detailed evidence for the positions of formerly unplaced families, resulting in a number of newly adopted orders, including Amborellales, Berberidopsidales, Bruniales, Buxales, Chloranthales, Escalloniales, Huerteales, Nymphaeales, Paracryphiales, Petrosaviales, Picramniales, Trochodendrales, Vitales and Zygophyllales. A number of previously unplaced genera and families are included here in orders, greatly reducing the number of unplaced taxa; these include Hydatellaceae (Nymphaeales), Haptanthaceae (Buxales), Peridiscaceae (Saxifragales), Huaceae (Oxalidales), Centroplacaceae and Rafflesiaceae (both Malpighiales), Aphloiaceae, Geissolomataceae and Strasburgeriaceae (all Crossosomatales), Picramniaceae (Picramniales), Dipentodontaceae and Gerrardinaceae (both Huerteales), Cytinaceae (Malvales), Balanophoraceae (Santalales), Mitrastemonaceae (Ericales) and Boraginaceae (now at least known to be a member of lamiid clade). Newly segregated families for genera previously understood to be in other APG-recognized families include Petermanniaceae (Liliales), Calophyllaceae (Malpighiales), Capparaceae and Cleomaceae (both Brassicales), Schoepfiaceae (Santalales), Anacampserotaceae, Limeaceae, Lophiocarpaceae, Montiaceae and Talinaceae (all Caryophyllales) and Linderniaceae and Thomandersiaceae (both Lamiales). Use of bracketed families is abandoned because of its unpopularity, and in most cases the broader circumscriptions are retained; these include Amaryllidaceae, Asparagaceace and Xanthorrheaceae (all Asparagales), Passifloraceae (Malpighiales), Primulaceae (Ericales) and several other smaller families. Separate papers in this same volume deal with a new linear order for APG, subfamilial names that can be used for more accurate communication in Amaryllidaceae s.l., Asparagaceace s.l. and Xanthorrheaceae s.l. (all Asparagales) and a formal supraordinal classification for the flowering plants.
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Polyphenols have become an intense focus of research interest because of their perceived health-beneficial effects, such as anti-carcinogenic, anti-atherogenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, etc. Polyphenols in green and black tea, grape seeds, grapes and (red) wine have raised much attention but chocolate has not been investigated intensively up to now. This review is concerned with polyphenols in Theobroma cacao, the change in composition and quantity during fermentation, drying, and the manufacture of chocolate, as well as with analytical methods for isolation, characterisation and quantification. Cocoa beans are rich in polyphenols in particular catechins and proanthocyanidins. However, a sharp decrease in quantity occurs during fermentation and drying of cocoa beans and further retention has been reported during roasting. Characterisation and in particular quantification of polyphenols in chocolate has only been developed relatively recently. This work reviews further on the literature on the available methodology for analysis, quantification, isolation, purification, and structure elucidation of polyphenols in cocoa components and other commodities. Concerning the analytical methods main emphasis is put on HPLC as it is usually the method of choice due to its high resolution, high efficiency, high reproducibility and relatively short analysis time without restriction on sample volatility. Moreover, HPLC can be coupled to a variety of detectors such as UV–Vis, photodiode array (PDA), fluorescence, electrochemical (ECD), and mass spectrometry (MS). However, TLC as a screening method and capillary electrophoresis (CE) as a promising tool is taken into consideration as well. The characterisation and quantification of the polyphenol composition is amongst the first steps to be done to evaluate a putative contribution of chocolate to human health.
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We sequenced and assembled the draft genome of Theobroma cacao, an economically important tropical-fruit tree crop that is the source of chocolate. This assembly corresponds to 76% of the estimated genome size and contains almost all previously described genes, with 82% of these genes anchored on the 10 T. cacao chromosomes. Analysis of this sequence information highlighted specific expansion of some gene families during evolution, for example, flavonoid-related genes. It also provides a major source of candidate genes for T. cacao improvement. Based on the inferred paleohistory of the T. cacao genome, we propose an evolutionary scenario whereby the ten T. cacao chromosomes were shaped from an ancestor through eleven chromosome fusions.
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The endophytic niches of plants are a rich source of microbes that can directly and indirectly promote plant protection, growth and development. The diversity of culturable endophytic fungi from stems and branches of Theobroma cacao (cacao) and Theobroma grandiflorum (cupuaçu) trees growing in the Amazon region of Brazil was assessed. The collection of fungal endophytic isolates obtained was applied in field experiments to evaluate their potential as biocontrol agents against Phytophthora palmivora, the causal agent of the black-pod rot disease of cacao, one of the most important pathogens in cocoa-producing regions worldwide. The isolated endophytic fungi from 60 traditional, farmer-planted, healthy cacao and 10 cupuaçu plants were cultured in PDA under conditions inducing sporulation. Isolates were classified based upon the morphological characteristics of their cultures and reproductive structures. Spore suspensions from a total of 103 isolates that could be classified at least up to genus level were tested against P. palmivora in pods attached to cacao trees in the field. Results indicated that ∼70% of isolates showed biocontrol effects to a certain extent, suggesting that culturable endophytic fungal biodiversity in this system is of a mostly mutualistic type of interaction with the host. Eight isolates from genera Trichoderma (reference isolate), Pestalotiopsis, Curvularia, Tolypocladium and Fusarium showed the highest level of activity against the pathogen, and were further characterized. All demonstrated their endophytic nature by colonizing axenic cacao plantlets, and confirmed their biocontrol activity on attached pods trials by showing significant decrease in disease severity in relation to the positive control. None, however, showed detectable growth-promotion effects. Aspects related to endophytic biodiversity and host-pathogen-endophyte interactions in the environment of this study were discussed on the context of developing sustainable strategies for biological control of black-pod rot of cacao.
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Methylxanthines and methyluric acids are purine alkaloids that are synthesized in quantity in a limited number of plant species, including tea, coffee and cacao. This review summarizes the pathways, enzymes and related genes of caffeine biosynthesis. The main biosynthetic pathway is a sequence consisting of xanthosine → 7-methylxanthosine → 7-methylxanthine → theobromine → caffeine. Catabolism of caffeine starts with its conversion to theophylline. Typically, this reaction is very slow in caffeine-accumulating plants. Finally, the ecological roles of caffeine and the production of decaffeinated coffee plants are discussed.
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Cocoa is a rich source of dietary polyphenols. In vitro as well as cell culture data indicate that cocoa polyphenols may exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, as well as anti-atherogenic activity. Several molecular targets (e.g., nuclear factor kappa B, endothelial nitric oxide synthase, angiotensin converting enzyme) have been recently identified which may partly explain potential beneficial cardiovascular effects of cocoa polyphenols. However cocoa polyphenol concentrations, as used in many cell culture studies, are not physiologically achievable. Bioavailability studies indicate that plasma concentrations of cocoa polyphenols following dietary intake are low and in the nanomolar range. Human studies regarding the effect of cocoa polyphenols on vascular health are often underpowered and lack a rigorous study design. If dietary cocoa polyphenol intake is due to chocolate its high energy content needs to be taken into account. In order to determine potential health benefits of cocoa polyphenols large scale, long term, randomized, placebo controlled studies, (ideally with a cross-over design) as well as prospective studies are warranted.
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Cocoa drinks containing flavan-3-ols are associated with many health benefits, and conflicting evidence exists as to whether milk adversely affects the bioavailability of flavan-3-ols. The objective was to determine the effect of milk on the bioavailability of cocoa flavan-3-ol metabolites. Nine human volunteers followed a low-flavonoid diet for 2 d before drinking 250 mL of a cocoa beverage, made with water or milk, that contained 45 micromol (-)-epicatechin and (-)-catechin. Plasma and urine samples were collected for 24 h, and flavan-3-ol metabolites were analyzed by HPLC with photodiode array and mass spectrometric detection. Milk affected neither gastric emptying nor the transit time through the small intestine. Two flavan-3-ol metabolites were detected in plasma and 4 in urine. Milk had only minor effects on the plasma pharmacokinetics of an (epi)catechin-O-sulfate and had no effect on an O-methyl-(epi)catechin-O-sulfate. However, milk significantly lowered the excretion of 4 urinary flavan-3-ol metabolites from 18.3% to 10.5% of the ingested dose (P = 0.016). Studies that showed protective effects of cocoa and those that showed no effect of milk on bioavailability used products that have a much higher flavan-3-ol content than does the commercial cocoa used in the present study. Most studies of the protective effects of cocoa have used drinks with a very high flavan-3-ol content. Whether similar protective effects are associated with the consumption of many commercial chocolate and cocoa products containing substantially lower amounts of flavan-3-ols, especially when absorption at lower doses is obstructed by milk, remains to be determined.
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Chemical analyses of organic residues in fragments of ceramic vessels from Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, reveal theobromine, a biomarker for cacao. With an estimated 800 rooms, Pueblo Bonito is the largest archaeological site in Chaco Canyon and was the center of a large number of interconnected towns and villages spread over northwestern New Mexico. The cacao residues come from pieces of vessels that are likely cylinder jars, special containers occurring almost solely at Pueblo Bonito and deposited in caches at the site. This first known use of cacao drinks north of the Mexican border indicates exchange with cacao cultivators in Mesoamerica in a time frame of about A.D. 1000-1125. The association of cylinder jars and cacao beverages suggests that the Chacoan ritual involving the drinking of cacao was tied to Mesoamerican rituals incorporating cylindrical vases and cacao. The importance of Pueblo Bonito within the Chacoan world likely lies in part with the integration of Mesoamerican ritual, including critical culinary ingredients.
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The action of various beverages and foods on the composition of the urine in the circadian rhythm and in the 24-hour urine has been investigated under standardized conditions. Orange juice leads to a significant increase of urinary pH and citric acid excretion. Black tea leads to a raised excretion of oxalic acid by only 7.9%. In the short term, beer increases diuresis, but afterwards leads to a compensatory antidiuresis with increased risk of stone formation. Depending on their composition, mineral waters have very different effects on the urinary constituents. Milk as well as cocoa beverage significantly increase calcium excretion; moreover, cocoa causes an increase in the oxalic acid excretion. The leafy vegetable foods containing oxalate, e.g., spinach and rhubarb, lead to peaks of oxalate excretion of 300-400% in the circadian excretion curve. Cheese leads to a significant rise of calcium excretion with acidification of the urine and lowering of citrate excretion. Calcium excretion is increased by 30% by sodium chloride. Foods containing purine result in an increased uric acid excretion over several days. Depending on their phytic acid content, brans bind calcium, but lead to an increased oxalic acid excretion. Analysis of the urine indicates that average diet in Germany entails a high risk of urinary stone formation. As a result of the change to a balanced mixed or vegetarian diet, according to the requirements, significant alterations in urinary pH, calcium, magnesium, uric acid, citric acid, cystine, and glycosaminoglycan excretion are measured, resulting in a drastic reduction in the risk of urinary stone formation.
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Epidemiologic studies have linked flavonoid-rich foods with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality. Some cocoas are flavonoid-rich and contain the monomeric flavanols (-)-epicatechin and (+)-catechin and oligomeric procyanidins formed from these monomeric units. Both the monomers and the oligomers have shown potential in favorably influencing cardiovascular health in in vitro and preliminary clinical studies. Although previous investigations have shown increasing concentrations of (-)-epicatechin in human plasma after cocoa consumption, no information is available in the published literature regarding the presence of procyanidins in human plasma. This study sought to determine whether procyanidins can be detected and quantified in human plasma after acute consumption of a flavanol-rich cocoa. Peripheral blood was obtained from 5 healthy adult subjects before (baseline, 0 h) and 0.5, 2, and 6 h after consumption of 0.375 g cocoa/kg body wt as a beverage. Plasma samples were analyzed for monomers and procyanidins with the use of reversed-phase HPLC with coulometric electrochemical array detection and liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. Procyanidin dimer, (-)-epicatechin, and (+)-catechin were detected in the plasma of human subjects as early as 0.5 h (16 +/- 5 nmol/L, 2.61 +/- 0.46 micro mol/L, and 0.13 +/- 0.03 micro mol/L, respectively) after acute cocoa consumption and reached maximal concentrations by 2 h (41 +/- 4 nmol/L, 5.92 +/- 0.60 micro mol/L, and 0.16 +/- 0.03 micro mol/L, respectively). Dimeric procyanidins can be detected in human plasma as early as 30 min after the consumption of a flavanol-rich food such as cocoa.
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There is some speculation that dietary flavonoids from chocolate, in particular (-)epicatechin, may promote cardiovascular health as a result of direct antioxidant effects or through antithrombotic mechanisms. Here we show that consumption of plain, dark chocolate (Fig. 1) results in an increase in both the total antioxidant capacity and the (-)epicatechin content of blood plasma, but that these effects are markedly reduced when the chocolate is consumed with milk or if milk is incorporated as milk chocolate. Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate in vivo and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.
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Every plant species examined to date harbors endophytic fungi within its asymptomatic aerial tissues, such that endophytes represent a ubiquitous, yet cryptic, component of terrestrial plant communities. Fungal endophytes associated with leaves of woody angiosperms are especially diverse; yet, fundamental aspects of their interactions with hosts are unknown. In contrast to the relatively species-poor endophytes that are vertically transmitted and act as defensive mutualists of some temperate grasses, the diverse, horizontally transmitted endophytes of woody angiosperms are thought to contribute little to host defense. Here, we document high diversity, spatial structure, and host affinity among foliar endophytes associated with a tropical tree (Theobroma cacao, Malvaceae) across lowland Panama. We then show that inoculation of endophyte-free leaves with endophytes isolated frequently from naturally infected, asymptomatic hosts significantly decreases both leaf necrosis and leaf mortality when T. cacao seedlings are challenged with a major pathogen (Phytophthora sp.). In contrast to reports of fungal inoculation inducing systemic defense, we found that protection was primarily localized to endophyte-infected tissues. Further, endophyte-mediated protection was greater in mature leaves, which bear less intrinsic defense against fungal pathogens than do young leaves. In vitro studies suggest that host affinity is mediated by leaf chemistry, and that protection may be mediated by direct interactions of endophytes with foliar pathogens. Together, these data demonstrate the capacity of diverse, horizontally transmitted endophytes of woody angiosperms to play an important but previously unappreciated role in host defense.
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Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases is emerging. The health effects of polyphenols depend on the amount consumed and on their bioavailability. In this article, the nature and contents of the various polyphenols present in food sources and the influence of agricultural practices and industrial processes are reviewed. Estimates of dietary intakes are given for each class of polyphenols. The bioavailability of polyphenols is also reviewed, with particular focus on intestinal absorption and the influence of chemical structure (eg, glycosylation, esterification, and polymerization), food matrix, and excretion back into the intestinal lumen. Information on the role of microflora in the catabolism of polyphenols and the production of some active metabolites is presented. Mechanisms of intestinal and hepatic conjugation (methylation, glucuronidation, sulfation), plasma transport, and elimination in bile and urine are also described. Pharmacokinetic data for the various polyphenols are compared. Studies on the identification of circulating metabolites, cellular uptake, intracellular metabolism with possible deconjugation, biological properties of the conjugated metabolites, and specific accumulation in some target tissues are discussed. Finally, bioavailability appears to differ greatly between the various polyphenols, and the most abundant polyphenols in our diet are not necessarily those that have the best bioavailability profile. A thorough knowledge of the bioavailability of the hundreds of dietary polyphenols will help us to identify those that are most likely to exert protective health effects.
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For some classes of dietary polyphenols, there are now sufficient intervention studies to indicate the type and magnitude of effects among humans in vivo, on the basis of short-term changes in biomarkers. Isoflavones (genistein and daidzein, found in soy) have significant effects on bone health among postmenopausal women, together with some weak hormonal effects. Monomeric catechins (found at especially high concentrations in tea) have effects on plasma antioxidant biomarkers and energy metabolism. Procyanidins (oligomeric catechins found at high concentrations in red wine, grapes, cocoa, cranberries, apples, and some supplements such as Pycnogenol) have pronounced effects on the vascular system, including but not limited to plasma antioxidant activity. Quercetin (the main representative of the flavonol class, found at high concentrations in onions, apples, red wine, broccoli, tea, and Ginkgo biloba) influences some carcinogenesis markers and has small effects on plasma antioxidant biomarkers in vivo, although some studies failed to find this effect. Compared with the effects of polyphenols in vitro, the effects in vivo, although significant, are more limited. The reasons for this are 1) lack of validated in vivo biomarkers, especially in the area of carcinogenesis; 2) lack of long-term studies; and 3) lack of understanding or consideration of bioavailability in the in vitro studies, which are subsequently used for the design of in vivo experiments. It is time to rethink the design of in vitro and in vivo studies, so that these issues are carefully considered. The length of human intervention studies should be increased, to more closely reflect the long-term dietary consumption of polyphenols.
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New genetic and archaeological approaches have substantially improved our understanding of the transition to agriculture, a major turning point in human history that began 10,000–5,000 years ago with the independent domestication of plants and animals in eight world regions. In the Americas, however, understanding the initial domestication of New World species has long been complicated by the early presence of an African enigma, the bottle gourd (Lagenaria siceraria). Indigenous to Africa, it reached East Asia by 9,000–8,000 before present (B.P.) and had a broad New World distribution by 8,000 B.P. Here we integrate genetic and archaeological approaches to address a set of long-standing core questions regarding the introduction of the bottle gourd into the Americas. Did it reach the New World directly from Africa or through Asia? Was it transported by humans or ocean currents? Was it wild or domesticated upon arrival? Fruit rind thickness values and accelerator mass spectrometer radiocarbon dating of archaeological specimens indicate that the bottle gourd was present in the Americas as a domesticated plant by 10,000 B.P., placing it among the earliest domesticates in the New World. Ancient DNA sequence analysis of archaeological bottle gourd specimens and comparison with modern Asian and African landraces identify Asia as the source of its introduction. We suggest that the bottle gourd and the dog, two “utility” species, were domesticated long before any food crops or livestock species, and that both were brought to the Americas by Paleoindian populations as they colonized the New World. • ancient DNA • archaeology • bottle gourd • domestication
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Consumption of chocolate has been often hypothesized to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to chocolate's high levels of stearic acid and antioxidant flavonoids. However, debate still lingers regarding the true long term beneficial cardiovascular effects of chocolate overall. We reviewed English-language MEDLINE publications from 1966 through January 2005 for experimental, observational, and clinical studies of relations between cocoa, cacao, chocolate, stearic acid, flavonoids (including flavonols, flavanols, catechins, epicatechins, and procynadins) and the risk of cardiovascular disease (coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke). A total of 136 publications were selected based on relevance, and quality of design and methods. An updated meta-analysis of flavonoid intake and CHD mortality was also conducted. The body of short-term randomized feeding trials suggests cocoa and chocolate may exert beneficial effects on cardiovascular risk via effects on lowering blood pressure, anti-inflammation, anti-platelet function, higher HDL, decreased LDL oxidation. Additionally, a large body of trials of stearic acid suggests it is indeed cholesterol-neutral. However, epidemiologic studies of serum and dietary stearic acid are inconclusive due to many methodologic limitations. Meanwhile, the large body of prospective studies of flavonoids suggests the flavonoid content of chocolate may reduce risk of cardiovascular mortality. Our updated meta-analysis indicates that intake of flavonoids may lower risk of CHD mortality, RR = 0.81 (95% CI: 0.71-0.92) comparing highest and lowest tertiles. Multiple lines of evidence from laboratory experiments and randomized trials suggest stearic acid may be neutral, while flavonoids are likely protective against CHD mortality. The highest priority now is to conduct larger randomized trials to definitively investigate the impact of chocolate consumption on long-term cardiovascular outcomes.
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A new chromatographic approach for separating cacao procyanidins according to their degree of polymerization has been developed. It utilizes diol stationary phase columns operating in normal phase mode with a binary gradient of acidified acetonitrile and methanol-water. Performance of the diol stationary phase was evaluated on an analytical scale utilizing classical chromatographic conditions for the normal phase separation of procyanidins according to their degree of polymerization. The new separation approach was developed on an analytical scale but further extended to the preparative scale. These newly developed analytical and preparative high-performance liquid chromatography procedures were successfully applied to the separation, as well as isolation, of cacao procyanidins from unfermented cacao seeds. The degree of polymerization associated with each molecular weight fraction was determined by mass spectrometry.
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Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases is emerging. Bioavailability differs greatly from one polyphenol to another, so that the most abundant polyphenols in our diet are not necessarily those leading to the highest concentrations of active metabolites in target tissues. Mean values for the maximal plasma concentration, the time to reach the maximal plasma concentration, the area under the plasma concentration-time curve, the elimination half-life, and the relative urinary excretion were calculated for 18 major polyphenols. We used data from 97 studies that investigated the kinetics and extent of polyphenol absorption among adults, after ingestion of a single dose of polyphenol provided as pure compound, plant extract, or whole food/beverage. The metabolites present in blood, resulting from digestive and hepatic activity, usually differ from the native compounds. The nature of the known metabolites is described when data are available. The plasma concentrations of total metabolites ranged from 0 to 4 mumol/L with an intake of 50 mg aglycone equivalents, and the relative urinary excretion ranged from 0.3% to 43% of the ingested dose, depending on the polyphenol. Gallic acid and isoflavones are the most well-absorbed polyphenols, followed by catechins, flavanones, and quercetin glucosides, but with different kinetics. The least well-absorbed polyphenols are the proanthocyanidins, the galloylated tea catechins, and the anthocyanins. Data are still too limited for assessment of hydroxycinnamic acids and other polyphenols. These data may be useful for the design and interpretation of intervention studies investigating the health effects of polyphenols.
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Field collections in Bahia State, Brazil, of open cocoa flowers from an untreated plantation and one treated with insecticide and fungicide showed that Homoptera, including the cicadellid Xesrocephalus ancorifer Linnavuori, the aphidid Toxoptera aurantii (Boy.), and species of Pseudococcidae and Margarodidae (Coccoidea), constituted 96% of the total number of insects collected. In the untreated area, Wasmannia rochai Ford formed 22% of the ants collected and Brachymyrmex pictus Mayr, Crernatogaster ? parabiotica Forel,Iridomyrmex sp., Pheidole sp. and Solenopsis sp., a further 48%, whereas in the treated area, 47% were C. parabiotica, 14% W. rochai and 9% B. heeri Forel. There was evidence of a mosaic distribution pattern for the ant species. No cocoa pollen was found on any of the insects collected. Total pollination ranged between 7·4 and 8·1 % and effective pollination between 3·7 and 2·8 % in the treated and untreated areas, respectively. Approximately 76% of the pollen masses were stylar, with 38% of the ball type and 54% of the smear type, whereas the 16% stigmatic pollen masses consisted of 63% ball and 29% smear types; 44% of the stigmatic pollinations were effective, compared with only 33 % of the stylar ones. Some quadrats were more attractive to pollinators than others, and there was a significant positive correlation between percentage effective pollination and insolation, probably due to the favourable effect of sunshine on Forcipomyia activity.
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Dietary resveratrol (3,4′,5-trihydroxystilbene) has been implicated in the health benefits associated with grapes and red wine, more specifically with potential benefits for metabolic syndrome, energy use, and increased endurance. Levels of trans-resveratrol and its glucoside, trans-piceid, were determined in 19 top selling commercially available cocoa-containing and chocolate products from the U.S. market. Amounts of trans-resveratrol and trans-piceid were closely correlated with the amount of nonfat cocoa solids (NFCS) in the cocoa-containing products. Among these products, trans-resveratrol levels were highest in cocoa powders (1.85 ± 0.43 μg/g), followed by unsweetened baking chocolates (1.24 ± 0.22), semisweet chocolate baking chips (0.52 ± 0.14), dark chocolates (0.35 ± 0.08), milk chocolates (0.10 ± 0.05), and chocolate syrups (0.09 ± 0.02). These cocoa-containing and chocolate products have about 3−5 times more trans-piceid than trans-resveratrol. Levels of trans-piceid were highest in the cocoa powders (7.14 ± 0.80 μg/g), followed by unsweetened baking chocolates (4.04 ± 0.14), semisweet chocolate baking chips (2.01 ± 0.18), dark chocolates (1.82 ± 0.36), milk chocolates (0.44 ± 0.06), and chocolate syrups (0.35 ± 0.06). On an equal weight basis, cocoa powder had about half as much trans-resveratrol as the average California red wine. On a per serving basis, cocoa-containing and chocolate products had less trans-resveratrol than red wine and grape juice but more than roasted peanuts. Overall, these cocoa-containing and chocolate products rank second after red wines and grape juice in foods with the highest levels of total trans-resveratrol in the diet.Keywords: Resveratrol; piceid; stilbene; cocoa; cacao; chocolate; wine; peanut
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Since the third edition of this standard work in 1999, there has been a significant increase in the amount of chocolate manufactured worldwide. The fourth edition of Industrial Chocolate Manufacture and Use provides up-to-date coverage of all major aspects of chocolate manufacture and use, from the growing of cocoa beans to the packaging and marketing of the end product. Retaining the important and well-received key features of the previous edition, the fourth edition also contains completely new chapters covering chocolate crumb, cold forming technologies, intellectual property, and nutrition. Furthermore, taking account of significant changes and trends within the chocolate industry, much new information is incorporated, particularly within such chapters as those covering the chemistry of flavour development, chocolate flow properties, chocolate packaging, and chocolate marketing. This fully revised and expanded new edition is an essential purchase for all those involved in the manufacture and use of chocolate.
Article
A revised and updated classification for the families of the flowering plants is provided. Newly adopted orders include Austrobaileyales, Canellales, Gunnerales, Crossosomatales and Celastrales. Pertinent literature published since the first APG classification is included, such that many additional families are now placed in the phylogenetic scheme. Among these are Hydnoraceae (Piperales), Nartheciaceae (Dioscoreales), Corsiaceae (Liliales), Triuridaceae (Pandanales), Hanguanaceae (Commelinales), Bromeliacae, Mayacaceae and Rapateaceae (all Poales), Barbeuiaceae and Gisekiaceae (both Caryophyllales), Geissolomataceae, Strasburgeriaceae and Vitaceae (unplaced to order, but included in the rosids), Zygophyllaceae (unplaced to order, but included in eurosids I), Bonnetiaceae, Ctenolophonaceae, Elatinaceae, Ixonanthaceae, Lophopyxidaceae, Podostemaceae (Malpighiales), Paracryphiaceae (unplaced in euasterid II), Sladeniaceae, Pentaphylacaceae (Ericales) and Cardiopteridaceae (Aquifoliales). Several major families are recircumscribed. Salicaceae are expanded to include a large part of Flacourtiaceae, including the type genus of that family; another portion of former Flacourtiaceae is assigned to an expanded circumscription of Achariaceae. Euphorbiaceae are restricted to the uniovulate subfamilies; Phyllanthoideae are recognized as Phyllanthaceae and Oldfieldioideae as Picrodendraceae. Scrophulariaceae are recircumscribed to include Buddlejaceae and Myoporaceae and exclude several former members; these are assigned to Calceolariaceae, Orobanchaceae and Plantaginaceae. We expand the use of bracketing families that could be included optionally in broader circumscriptions with other related families; these include Agapanthaceae and Amaryllidaceae in Alliaceae s.l., Agavaceae, Hyacinthaceae and Ruscaceae (among many other Asparagales) in Asparagaceae s.l., Dichapetalaceae in Chrysobalanaceae, Turneraceae in Passifloraceae, Erythroxylaceae in Rhizophoraceae, and Diervillaceae, Dipsacaceae, Linnaeaceae, Morinaceae and Valerianaceae in Caprifoliaceae s.l. © 2003 The Linnean Society of London, Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society, 2003, 141, 399–436.
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The Kuna Amerinds reside chiefly in the San Blas islands (Kuna Yala) on the Caribbean coast of Panama. The diet of this population has not previously been described in detail and composition data for certain foods consumed by this population does not exist or is lacking for certain important nutrients. The protein, fat, moisture, fiber, sugar, mineral and procyanidin content was determined in foods selected because of the frequency with which they are consumed by this population. For that reason, emphasis was given to Tule Masi, a typical Kuna stew-like dish, and cocoa-containing beverages. The foods analyzed were generally low in fat and protein. Potassium and magnesium are present in Tule Masi, common beverages and certain fruits and vegetables at significant levels when considering the preliminary reports on the daily intake of these foods. In addition, preliminary reports indicate that salt use is common, an observation that is supported by the sodium content of the Tule Masi. The cocoa and cocoa beans used in the preparation of beverages are rich in several minerals and procyanidins, as expected. This analysis will allow for the estimation of nutrient intake and subsequent investigations into the relationship between diet and health in this population.
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This study reports for the first time the metabolic profile of cocoa ( Theobroma cacao L.) beans using the (1)H NMR technique applied to polar extracts of fermented cocoa beans. The simultaneous detection and quantification of amino acids, polyalcohols, organic acids, sugars, methylxanthines, catechins, and phenols were obtained by assigning the major signals of the spectra for different varieties of cocoa beans (Forastero, Criollo, and Trinitario) from different countries (Ecuador, Ghana, Grenada, and Trinidad). The data set obtained, representative of all classes of soluble compounds of cocoa, was useful to characterize the fermented cocoa beans as a function of the variety and geographic origin.
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Low molecular weight flavan-3-ols are thought to be responsible, in part, for the cardiovascular benefits associated with cocoa powder and dark chocolate. The levels of epicatechin and catechin were determined in raw and conventionally fermented cacao beans and during conventional processing, which included drying, roasting, and Dutch (alkali) processing. Unripe cacao beans had 29% higher levels of epicatechin and the same level of catechin compared to fully ripe beans. Drying had minimal effect on the epicatechin and catechin levels. Substantial decreases (>80%) in catechin and epicatechin levels were observed in fermented versus unfermented beans. When both Ivory Coast and Papua New Guinea beans were subjected to roasting under controlled conditions, there was a distinct loss of epicatechin when bean temperatures exceeded 70 °C. When cacao beans were roasted to 120 °C, the catechin level in beans increased by 696% in unfermented beans, by 650% in Ivory Coast beans, and by 640% in Papua New Guinea fermented beans compared to the same unroasted beans. These results suggest that roasting in excess of 70 °C generates significant amounts of (-)-catechin, probably due to epimerization of (-)-epicatechin. Compared to natural cocoa powders, Dutch processing caused a loss in both epicatechin (up to 98%) and catechin (up to 80%). The epicatechin/catechin ratio is proposed as a useful and sensitive indicator for the processing history of cacao beans.
Article
The impact of carbohydrates and milk on the bioavailability of catechin (C) and epicatechin (EC) from chocolate has been previously studied. However, little data exist regarding potential modulation of the phase II metabolism by these chocolate matrix factors. The objectives of this study were to assess the impact of matrix composition on qualitative and quantitative profiles of circulating catechins and their metabolites following administration of commercially relevant chocolate confections. Sprague-Dawley rats were administered 1.5 g of a confection (reference dark, high sucrose, or milk chocolate) by intragastric gavage, and plasma samples were collected over 8 h. High-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis was performed to quantify C, EC, and their metabolites. The predominant metabolites were O-glucuronides (two metabolites) and O-Me-O-glucuronides (three metabolites). Plasma concentrations of metabolites were generally the highest for high sucrose treatment and lowest for milk treatment, while the reference dark treatment generally resulted in intermediate concentrations. The O-Me-(+/-)-C/EC-O-beta-glucuronide (peak 4) was significantly higher for the high sucrose treatment (2325 nM h) versus the milk treatment (1300 nM h). Additionally, C(MAX) values for (+/-)-C/EC-O-beta-glucuronide (peak 3) and two O-Me-(+/-)-C/EC-O-beta-glucuronides (peaks 4 and 6) were significantly higher for the high sucrose treatment (4012, 518, and 2518 nM, respectively) versus the milk treatment (2590, 240, and 1670 nM, respectively). Milk and sucrose appear to modulate both metabolism and plasma pharmacokinetics and, to a lesser extent, the overall bioavailability of catechins from chocolate confections.
Article
trans-Resveratrol and trans-piceid were recently discovered in chocolate. In the present work, both were quantified by RP-HPLC-APCI(+)-MS/MS in 22 cocoa liquors from 11 different countries. A very large range of concentrations was observed for trans-piceid. The most concentrated sample (Arriba 06) reached 0.4 and 2.6 mg/kg of trans-resveratrol and trans-piceid, respectively, but in other cultivars stilbene levels were five times lower. Neither cis-resveratrol nor cis-piceid was found in cocoa liquors. An unknown compound eluting 0.5 min before trans-piceid and present at concentrations up to 0.8 mg/kg of trans-piceid equivalents in cocoa liquors was tentatively identified by HRMS as a trans-piceid-like hexoside.
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Chocolate layer cake. Fudge brownies. Chocolate chip cookies. Boxes of chocolate truffles. Cups of cocoa. Hot fudge sundaes. Chocolate is synonymous with our cultural sweet tooth, our restaurant dessert menus, and our idea of indulgence. Chocolate is adored around the world and has been since the Spanish first encountered cocoa beans in South America in the sixteenth century. It is seen as magical, addictive, and powerful beyond anything that can be explained by its ingredients, and in Chocolate Sarah Moss and Alec Badenoch explore the origins and growth of this almost universal obsession. Moss and Badenoch recount the history of chocolate, which from ancient times has been associated with sexuality, sin, blood, and sacrifice. The first Spanish accounts claim that the Aztecs and Mayans used chocolate as a substitute for blood in sacrificial rituals and as a currency to replace gold. In the eighteenth century chocolate became regarded as an aphrodisiac—the first step on the road to today’s boxes of Valentine delights. Chocolate also looks at today’s mass-production of chocolate, with brands such as Hershey’s, Lindt, and Cadbury dominating our supermarket shelves. Packed with tempting images and decadent descriptions of chocolate throughout the ages, Chocolate will be as irresistible as the tasty treats it describes.
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The effect produced by long-term intake of a soluble cocoa fiber product (SCFP) on the development of hypertension of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) was evaluated. Twenty male 3-week-old SHR were divided into two groups of 10 animals that drank either tap water (control) or a solution of SCFP (0.75 g/day SCFP) until the 20th week of life. Five 20-week-old rats of each group were sacrificed. Tap water as drinking fluid was given to all the animals from the 20th to 24th week of life. The 24-week-old rats were also sacrificed. Body weight, liquid and dry food intake, and arterial blood pressure (tail cuff) were recorded weekly. Malondialdehyde (MDA), glucose and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) activity in the plasma from the sacrificed rats were also obtained, and we evaluated the relaxation caused by acetylcholine in the aorta from these animals. SCFP attenuated the development of hypertension in SHR; however, the withdrawal of SCFP caused an increase in blood pressure in the rats. Body weight gain was slower in the group treated with SCFP. SCFP increased liquid intake but decreased dry food intake in the rats. SCFP decreased plasma MDA concentrations and slightly decreased plasma ACE activity, but no differences were observed in plasma glucose and in the aorta responses to acetylcholine in both groups of 20-week-old SHR. We have demonstrated the antihypertensive and antioxidant properties of SCFP. The control of body weight and the control of increased angiotensin II may be involved in the antihypertensive effect of this product.
Article
A survey of a broad range of chocolate- and cocoa-containing products marketed in the United States was conducted to provide a more detailed analysis of flavan-3-ol monomers, oligomers, and polymers, which can be grouped into a class of compounds called procyanidins. Samples consisted of the three or four top-selling products within the following six categories: natural cocoa powder, unsweetened baking chocolate, dark chocolate, semisweet baking chips, milk chocolate, and chocolate syrup. Composite samples were characterized for percent fat (% fat), percent nonfat cocoa solids (% NFCS), antioxidant level by ORAC, total polyphenols, epicatechin, catechin, total monomers, and flavan-3-ol oligomers and polymers (procyanidins). On a gram weight basis epicatechin and catechin content of the products follow in decreasing order: cocoa powder > baking chocolate > dark chocolate = baking chips > milk chocolate > chocolate syrup. Analysis of the monomer and oligomer profiles within product categories shows there are two types of profiles: (1) products that have high monomers with decreasing levels of oligomers and (2) products in which the level of dimers is equal to or greater than the monomers. Results show a strong correlation (R(2) = 0.834) of epicatechin to the level of % NFCS and also very good correlations for N = 2-5 oligomers to % NFCS. A weaker correlation was observed for catechin to % NFCS (R(2) = 0.680). Other analyses show a similar high degree of correlation with epicatechin and N = 2-5 oligomers to total polyphenols, with catechin being less well correlated to total polyphenols. A lesser but still good correlation exists between the calculated percent cacao (calcd % cacao) content, a proxy for percent cacao, and these same flavanol measures, with catechin again showing a lesser degree of correlation to calcd % cacao. Principal component analysis (PCA) shows that the products group discretely into five classes: (1) cocoa powder, (2) baking chocolate, (3) dark chocolate and semisweet chips, (4) milk chocolates, and (5) syrup. PCA also shows that most factors group closely together including the antioxidant activity, total polyphenols, and the flavan-3-ol measures with the exception of catechin and % fat in the product, which group separately. Because catechin distribution appears to be different from the other flavan-3-ol measures, an analysis of the epicatechin to catechin ratio was done, indicating there is a >5-fold variation in this measure across the products studied. The cocoa-containing products tested range from cocoa powder with 227.34 +/- 17.23 mg of procyanidins per serving to 25.75 +/- 9.91 mg of procyanidins per serving for chocolate syrup. These results are discussed with respect to other studies on commercial products, the bioavailability of the flavanols, and the possible role of processing on the amount of catechin in products.
Article
A significant body of evidence demonstrates that diets rich in fruits and vegetables promote health and attenuate, or delay, the onset of various diseases, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and several other age-related degenerative disorders. The concept that moderate chocolate consumption could be part of a healthy diet has gained acceptance in past years based on the health benefits ascribed to selected cocoa components. Specifically, cocoa as a plant and chocolate as food contain a series of chemicals that can interact with cell and tissue components, providing protection against the development and amelioration of pathological conditions. The most relevant effects of cocoa and chocolate have been related to cardiovascular disease. The mechanisms behind these effects are still under investigation. However, the maintenance or restoration of vascular NO production and bioavailability and the antioxidant effects are the mechanisms most consistently supported by experimental data. This review will summarize the most recent research on the cardiovascular effects of cocoa flavanols and related compounds.
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This work describes the applicability of an in vitro digestion model for the evaluation of the digestibility and bioaccessibility of cocoa polyphenols (procyanidins, phenolic acids, and flavones) and for the study of the food matrix effect in relation with the fat content. For this purpose, two cocoa samples, cocoa liquor ( approximately 50% fat content) and cocoa powder ( approximately 15% fat content), were used. The results showed an important increase of the concentration of procyanidin (monomers and dimers), probably due to the hydrolysis of procyanidins with a high degree of polymerization (pentamers to nonamers) submitted to the digestion procedure. In relation to flavones, the concentration of aglycone forms remained almost constant after the digestion steps; in contrast, the concentration of the glycoside forms an increase in the digestion mixtures mainly after the duodenal step, probably as a result of the partial digestion of the dietary fiber present in the cocoa. The higher fat content in the cocoa liquor seemed to have a protective effect, probably related with a better micellarization that favors the stability of polyphenols during digestion.
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Epidemiological data demonstrate that regular dietary intake of plant-derived foods and beverages reduces the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Among many ingredients, cocoa might be an important mediator. Indeed, recent research demonstrates a beneficial effect of cocoa on blood pressure, insulin resistance, and vascular and platelet function. Although still debated, a range of potential mechanisms through which cocoa might exert its benefits on cardiovascular health have been proposed, including activation of nitric oxide and antioxidant and antiinflammatory effects. This review summarizes the available data on the cardiovascular effects of cocoa, outlines potential mechanisms involved in the response to cocoa, and highlights the potential clinical implications associated with its consumption.
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Polyphenols constitute one of the most numerous and ubiquitous groups of plant metabolites and are an integral part of both human and animal diets. Ranging from simple phenolic molecules to highly polymerized compounds with molecular weights of greater than 30,000 Da, the occurrence of this complex group of substances in plant foods is extremely variable. Polyphenols traditionally have been considered antinutrients by animal nutritionists, because of the adverse effect of tannins, one type of polyphenol, on protein digestibility. However, recent interest in food phenolics has increased greatly, owing to their antioxidant capacity (free radical scavenging and metal chelating activities) and their possible beneficial implications in human health, such as in the treatment and prevention of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and other pathologies. Much of the literature refers to a single group of plant phenolics, the flavonoids. This review offers an overview of the nutritional effects of the main groups of polyphenolic compounds, including their metabolism, effects on nutrient bioavailability, and antioxidant activity, as well as a brief description of the chemistry of polyphenols and their occurrence in plant foods.
Article
Catechins, compounds that belong to the flavonoid class, are potentially beneficial to human health. To enable epidemiological evaluation of these compounds, data on their contents in foods are required. HPLC with UV and fluorescence detection was used to determine the levels of (+)-catechin, (-)-epicatechin, (+)-gallocatechin (GC), (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), (-)-epicatechin gallate (ECg), and (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCg) in 24 types of fruits, 27 types of vegetables and legumes, some staple foods, and processed foods commonly consumed in The Netherlands. Most fruits, chocolate, and some legumes contained catechins. Levels varied to a large extent: from 4.5 mg/kg in kiwi fruit to 610 mg/kg in black chocolate. (+)-Catechin and (-)-epicatechin were the predominant catechins; GC, EGC, and ECg were detected in some foods, but none of the foods contained EGCg. The data reported here provide a base for the epidemiological evaluation of the effect of catechins on the risk for chronic diseases.
Article
Liquid chromatography coupled with ionspray mass spectrometry in the tandem mode (LC/MS/MS) with negative ion detection was used for the identification of a variety of phenolic compounds in a cocoa sample. Gradient elution with water and acetonitrile, both containing 0.1% HCOOH, was used. Standard solutions of 31 phenolic compounds, including benzoic and cinnamic acids and flavonoid compounds, were studied in the negative ion mode using MS/MS product ion scans. At low collisional activation, the deprotonated molecule [M - H](-) was observed for all the compounds studied. For cinnamic and benzoic acids, losses of CO(2) or formation of [M - CH(3)](-*) in the case of methoxylated compounds were observed. However, for flavonol and flavone glycosides, the spectra present both the deprotonated molecule [M - H](-) of the glycoside and the ion corresponding to the deprotonated aglycone [A - H](-). The latter ion is formed by loss of the rhamnose, glucose, galactose or arabinose residue from the glycosides. Different fragmentation patterns were observed in MS/MS experiments for flavone-C-glycosides which showed fragmentation in the sugar part. Fragmentation of aglycones provided characteristic ions for each family of flavonoids. The optimum LC/MS/MS conditions were applied to the characterization of a cocoa sample that had been subjected to an extraction/clean-up procedure which involved chromatography on Sephadex LH20 and thin-layer chromatographic monitoring. In addition to compounds described in the literature, such as epicatechin and catechin, quercetin, isoquercitrin (quercetin-3-O-glucoside) and quercetin-3-O-arabinose, other compounds were identified for the first time in cocoa samples, such as hyperoside (quercetin-3-O-galactoside), naringenin, luteolin, apigenin and some O-glucosides and C-glucosides of these compounds.
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This paper offers a review of current scientific research regarding the potential cardiovascular health benefits of flavonoids found in cocoa and chocolate. Recent reports indicate that the main flavonoids found in cocoa, flavan-3-ols and their oligomeric derivatives, procyanidins, have a variety of beneficial actions, including antioxidant protection and modulation of vascular homeostasis. These findings are supported by similar research on other flavonoid-rich foods. Other constituents in cocoa and chocolate that may also influence cardiovascular health are briefly reviewed. The lipid content of chocolate is relatively high; however, one third of the lipid in cocoa butter is composed of the fat stearic acid, which exerts a neutral cholesterolemic response in humans. Cocoa and chocolate contribute to trace mineral intake, which is necessary for optimum functioning of all biologic systems and for vascular tone. Thus, multiple components in chocolate, particularly flavonoids, can contribute to the complex interplay of nutrition and health. Applications of this knowledge include recommendations by health professionals to encourage individuals to consume a wide range of phytochemical-rich foods, which can include dark chocolate in moderate amounts.
Article
Black tea, green tea, red wine, and cocoa are high in phenolic phytochemicals, among which theaflavin, epigallocatechin gallate, resveratrol, and procyanidin, respectively, have been extensively investigated due to their possible role as chemopreventive agents based on their antioxidant capacities. The present study compared the phenolic and flavonoid contents and total antioxidant capacities of cocoa, black tea, green tea, and red wine. Cocoa contained much higher levels of total phenolics (611 mg of gallic acid equivalents, GAE) and flavonoids (564 mg of epicatechin equivalents, ECE) per serving than black tea (124 mg of GAE and 34 mg of ECE, respectively), green tea (165 mg of GAE and 47 mg of ECE), and red wine (340 mg of GAE and 163 mg of ECE). Total antioxidant activities were measured using the 2,2'-azino-bis(3-ethylbenzthiazoline-6-sulfonic acid) (ABTS) and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assays and are expressed as vitamin C equivalent antioxidant capacities (VCEACs). Cocoa exhibited the highest antioxidant activity among the samples in ABTS and DPPH assays, with VCEACs of 1128 and 836 mg/serving, respectively. The relative total antioxidant capacities of the samples in both assays were as follows in decreasing order: cocoa > red wine > green tea > black tea. The total antioxidant capacities from ABTS and DPPH assays were highly correlated with phenolic content (r2 = 0.981 and 0.967, respectively) and flavonoid content (r2 = 0.949 and 0.915). These results suggest that cocoa is more beneficial to health than teas and red wine in terms of its higher antioxidant capacity.
Article
The flavor of eight cocoa liquors of different origins (Africa, America, and Asia) and different varieties (Fine grades: criollo, trinitario, and nacional. Bulk-basic grade: forastero.) was analyzed by headspace solid-phase microextraction mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-MS). Their procyanidin contents were quantified by HPLC-UV (280 nm). Fine varieties with short fermentation processes proved to contain more procyanidins, while criollo from New Guinea and forastero beans showed the highest aroma levels. The levels of cocoa aroma compounds formed during roasting are shown to vary directly with bean fermentation time and inversely with residual procyanidin content in cocoa liquor. Measurement of antioxidant activity in cocoa liquor proved to be a useful tool for assessing residual polyphenols.
Article
Polyphenols are abundant micronutrients in our diet, and evidence for their role in the prevention of degenerative diseases is emerging. Bioavailability differs greatly from one polyphenol to another, so that the most abundant polyphenols in our diet are not necessarily those leading to the highest concentrations of active metabolites in target tissues. Mean values for the maximal plasma concentration, the time to reach the maximal plasma concentration, the area under the plasma concentration-time curve, the elimination half-life, and the relative urinary excretion were calculated for 18 major polyphenols. We used data from 97 studies that investigated the kinetics and extent of polyphenol absorption among adults, after ingestion of a single dose of polyphenol provided as pure compound, plant extract, or whole food/beverage. The metabolites present in blood, resulting from digestive and hepatic activity, usually differ from the native compounds. The nature of the known metabolites is described when data are available. The plasma concentrations of total metabolites ranged from 0 to 4 mumol/L with an intake of 50 mg aglycone equivalents, and the relative urinary excretion ranged from 0.3% to 43% of the ingested dose, depending on the polyphenol. Gallic acid and isoflavones are the most well-absorbed polyphenols, followed by catechins, flavanones, and quercetin glucosides, but with different kinetics. The least well-absorbed polyphenols are the proanthocyanidins, the galloylated tea catechins, and the anthocyanins. Data are still too limited for assessment of hydroxycinnamic acids and other polyphenols. These data may be useful for the design and interpretation of intervention studies investigating the health effects of polyphenols.
Article
Cocoa and chocolate have recently been found to be rich plant-derived sources of antioxidant flavonoids with beneficial cardiovascular properties. These favorable physiological effects include: antioxidant activity, vasodilation and blood pressure reduction, inhibition of platelet activity, and decreased inflammation. Increasing evidence from experimental and clinical studies using cocoa-derived products and chocolate suggest an important role for these high-flavanol-containing foods in heart and vascular protection.