Lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains isolated from six main Ivorian cocoa producer regions were investigated based on their biochemical properties in order to select the best one as potential starter. Three main technological and useful properties for good cocoa beans fermentation were monitored among the 568 isolated LAB strains. Thus, between the 408 cocoa-specific acidifying LAB strains identified, 05.88% (24 isolates) of them were able to maintain this activity in pH and temperature conditions as same as fermentation heap with an acidifying rate ranged within 0.03±0.00 to 1.19±0.070%. All these 24 cocoa-specific acidifying LAB strains displayed the ability to degrade the citrate while six (25%) of them were able to produce acetoin. These six LAB strains namely T1Gb8, T6C5, T6C12, T7C8, T9C9 and T11C5 were identified as Lactobacillus plantarum. They were the best able to continuously produce lactic acid in the required standards. Firstly under varying condition of temperature (30 à 45°C) and pH (3 à 6) with sharp acid (acetic, lactic and citric acids) influence. Secondly beyond 8% of ethanol content. The highlighted properties in this study and the performance of these six strains may make them best candidate as starters for cocoa fermentation control.
Key words: Lactic acid bacteria, cocoa-specific acidifying, technological properties, starter, Ivorian cocoa, fermentation.
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