Effects of different fermentation materials on the quality of mixed and hybrid cocoa beans

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A field survey on fermentation practices of farmers was conducted in three cocoa districts in Western South of the Western Region of Ghana. The outcome of the survey led to the establishment of an experiment to determine the effects of the use of polythene sheets or fertilizer sacks as alternative materials for fermentation instead of plantain/ banana leaves on the physical quality and chemical composition of the dried cocoa beans. The experiment was a 2 x 3 factorial in a completely randomized design with three replications. The first factor comprised of two cocoa varieties mainly hybrid and mixed varieties whilst the second factor consisted of plantain/ banana leaves, polythene sheets and fertilizer sacks as fermentation materials. The results of the field survey revealed that averagely 58%, 23%, and 17.7% of the farmers used plantain / banana leaves, fertilizer sacks and polythene sheets respectively for fermentation. However, 4% of the farmers in Samreboi used basket for fermentation of their cocoa beans. The purity of the cocoa beans was significantly influenced by the interactive effects of the cocoa varieties and fermentation materials, Hybrid variety or mixed varieties fermented with plantain leaves had the highest purity above 90%, significantly greater than the purity from the other treatment combinations. The least purity was obtained from mixed variety fermented with fertilizer sack (79.63 %). In a similar trend, the pH of the dried cocoa beans was also significantly influenced by the interactions. Mixed varieties fermented with fertilizer sack and polythene sheet had pH of 6.23 and 6.40 compared with 4.90 recorded by mixed varieties fermented with plantain leaves. All the chemical composition parameters examined in this study were not significantly different between the hybrid and mixed cocoa varieties except pH and free fatty acids. The study revealed that fermentation of cocoa beans with polythene sheets or fertilizer sacks are not adequately fermented
A thesis submitted to The School of Research and Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Philosophy (Mphil. Post Harvest Technology) Degree.