The aroma characterization of 58 unroasted cocoa beans from 22 different geographical origins was performed by head space solid phase micro-extraction (HS-SPME) combined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Sampling is representative of the average world production (America, Africa, and Southeast Asia). Analysis of cocoa beans before and after roasting were performed to follow the aroma modification with the aim to achieve a cocoa volatile fingerprint and a discrimination model based on beans origin. A total of 57 volatiles was identified in unroasted cocoa beans, while 71 volatiles were identified in roasted cocoa beans. The compounds belong to several chemical groups including esters, alcohols, organic acids, aldehydes, ketones and pyrazines. Datasets were submitted to multivariate statistical analysis (Principal Component Analysis, PCA). Results allowed to discriminate unroasted cocoa beans based on their geographical origin: samples coming from African countries were separated from samples of American regions, whereas samples from Southeast Asia lie between the other two continents suggesting that Asian samples have intermediate characteristics between African and South American cocoa beans. PCA, applied on the corresponding roasted samples, showed that although the same roasting treatment has been applied to all the samples, the differences among the unroasted samples were also maintained in the aromatic profile after roasting. The discrimination model based on volatile fingerprint combined with chemometric tools, showed interesting potential for origin authentication of both unroasted and roasted cocoa beans.
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