Assessing the Impact of a Mixed Solar Dryer on the Quality of Heap Fermented Cocoa Beans

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November, 2018
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Ghana has a high reputation in the world market for producing cocoa beans of premium quality. However, the drying of the cocoa beans comes with intense labour and high losses due to the deterioration of beans during processing. Solar drying technology has the potential to reduce postharvest loses. The use of this technology in Ghana is very limited among cocoa producers and the need to explore its comprehensive value has become imperative. This research study aimed to primarily assess whether solar drying technology enhances the organoleptic properties of cocoa beans using heap fermentation. Proximate, Free Fatty Acid (FFA), Titratable Acidity, Vitamin C and pH, according to the recommendations of AOAC were determined. Air temperature and relative humidity readings were taken after the cocoa sample had undergone complete heap fermentation for six days. An initial moisture content of 51% was recorded for the freshly fermented samples and put through two treatments: solar and open sun drying systems. The moisture content reduced to 6.0 % for the solar dried sample after the third day and 7.0% for the open sun dried sample after the sixth day. Data collected were subjected to statistical analysis. The findings reveal that solar dried cocoa beans generally had higher crude protein, crude fibre, total carbohydrate, and lower raw fat, ash content as compared to that of the open sun dried sample. There were no defects recorded for the cut test, however percentage purple was lower for solar dried compared to the open sun dried. The percentage proportions of each of the sensory descriptors assessed by the panelist scored higher in favor of open sun dried cocoa beans. In conclusion, the open sun drying system was better to process cocoa products of good quality in terms of the sensory test but the solar dryer had a shorter drying time.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Food Science and Technology, College of Science, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Food Quality Management.