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A combined omics and bioinformatics research approach to improve spontaneous Ecuadorian cocoa bean fermentation processes


Although Ecuador is the largest producer of fine cocoa, its cocoa farmers suffer from low revenues due to a lower-than-desired quality of their fermented dry cocoa beans. This project envisages increasing the awareness of the farmers regarding good practices to obtain well-fermented cocoa beans. Therefore, Ecuadorian cocoa bean fermentation processes will be investigated in detail using a combined metagenetics, metagenomics, and meta-metabolomics approach in combination with bioinformatics analyses. Focus will be on the Nacional and Sasha Gold cocoa varieties in the Amazon region and the Nacional variety in the coastal area of Ecuador. Local scientists will be trained to allow them to build up the capacity to apply the advanced omics and bioinformatics analyses methodologies in this and future research projects and in educational programs.

Intervention type

TEAM projects


01/01/2018 - 31/12/2021

This project is being implemented in:
Flemish promoter Stefan Weckx
Local promoter Jenny Ruales
Local partner institution Vrije Universiteit Brussel
visit www.vub.ac.be
Local partner institution Escuela Politécnica Nacional
Other local partners Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral
Budget € 279.064