Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The influence of three different types and dosage of alkaline on the inherent properties in cocoa powder

  • 14 Accesses


Alkalization modifies the color and flavor of the cocoa products. The aim of the present survey was to determine how different types and dosage of alkaline relate to the color quality, total polyphenol amount and alkylpyrazine content of cocoa powder. Cameroon cacao beans were used to produce cocoa nibs. The nibs were alkalized with the solutions of NaOH, K2CO3, and NH4HCO3 at their different concentrations and combinations. The browning index (OD460/OD525) and alkylpyrazine content were changed significantly (p ≤ 0.01) with changing the type and the concentration of the alkali solution. The browning index, moisture, ash, and acid-insoluble ash content increased as the concentration of the alkali increased. In general, the not-alkaline products had more polyphenol and ratio of tetramethylpyrazine to trimethylpyrazine than the alkalized ones. Besides, the polyphenol and alkylpyrazine amounts decreased as the concentration of the alkali increased (p ≤ 0.01). At the same concentration, alkalization with a NaOH solution produced a higher polyphenol and alkylpyrazine content, but lower OD460/OD525 value than that with a K2CO3 solution. The samples with a high concentration of alkaline solution had the lowest ratio of monomer anthocyanins to yellow and brown polymers content (F1/F3) value.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Afoakwa EO, Budu AS, Mensah-Brown H, Takrama JF, Ofosu-Ansah E (2014) Effect of roasting conditions on the browning index and appearance properties of pulp pre-conditioned and fermented cocoa (Theobroma cacao) beans. J Nutr Health Food Sci 2(1):1–5.

  2. Aprotosoaie AC, Luca SV, Miron A (2016) Flavor chemistry of cocoa and cocoa products—an overview. Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf 15(1):73–91.

  3. Blache D, Durand P, Prost M, Loreau N (2002) (+)-Catechin inhibits platelet hyperactivity induced by an acute iron load in vivo. Free Radic Biol Med 33(12):1670–1680.

  4. Cerny C (2007) Origin of carbons in sulfur-containing aroma compounds from the Maillard reaction of xylose, cysteine and thiamine. LWT Food Sci Technol 40:1309–1315.

  5. Counet C, Callemien D, Ouwerx C, Collin S (2002) Use of gas chromatography-olfactometry to identify key odorant compounds in dark chocolate. Comparison of samples before and after conching. J Agric Food Chem 50(8):2385–2391.

  6. Czerny M, Christlbauer M, Christlbauer M, Fischer A, Granvogl M, Hammer M, Hartl C, Hernandez NM, Schieberle P (2008) Re-investigation on odour thresholds of key food aroma compounds and development of an aroma language based on odour qualities of defined aqueous odorant solutions. Eur Food Res Technol 228(2):265–273.

  7. da Bispo ES, Ferreira VLP, de Santana LRR, Yotsuyanagi K (2005) Perfil sensorial de pó de cacau (Theobroma cacao L.) alcalinizado. Ciência e Tecnologia de Alimentos 25(2):375–381.

  8. Davies CGA, Labuza TP (1997) The Maillard reaction application to confectionery products. In: Zeigler G (ed) Confectionery science. Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, pp 35–66

  9. Elwers S, Zambrano A, Rohsius C, Lieberei R (2009) Differences between the content of phenolic compounds in Criollo, Forastero and Trinitario cocoa seed (Theobroma cacao L.). Eur Food Res Technol 229:937–948.

  10. Epa N, Mass NIH, Library S, Ei VZ, Sparkman JA (2004) NIST standard reference database 1A. The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, Gaithersburg

  11. Ferrari CKB, Torres EAFS (2003) Biochemical pharmacology of functional foods and prevention of chronic diseases of aging. Biomed Pharmacother 57:251–260.

  12. Gìltekin-Özgìven M, Berktaş I, Özçelik B (2016) Change in stability of procyanidins, antioxidant capacity and in vitro bioaccessibility during processing of cocoa powder from cocoa beans. LWT Food Sci Technol 72:559–565.

  13. Huang Y, Barringer SA (2010) Alkylpyrazines and other volatiles in cocoa liquors at pH 5 to 8, by selected ion flow tube-mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS). J Food Sci 75:121–127.

  14. ICS: 67.140.30 (2014)

  15. Koehler PE, Odell GV (1970) Factors affecting the formation of pyrazine compounds in sugar-amine reactions. J Agric Food Chem 18(5):895–898.

  16. Krysiak W (2006) Influence of roasting conditions on coloration of roasted cocoa beans. J Food Eng 77(3):449–453.

  17. Li Y, Feng Y, Zhu S, Luo C, Ma J, Zhong F (2012) The effect of alkalization on the bioactive and flavor related components in commercial cocoa powder. J Food Compos Anal 25:17–23.

  18. Li Y, Zhu S, Feng Y, Xu F, Ma J, Zhong F (2014) Influence of alkalization treatment on the color quality and the total phenolic and anthocyanin contents in cocoa powder. Food Sci Biotechnol 23(1):59–63.

  19. Martins SIFS, Jongen WMF, Van Boekel MAJS (2000) A review of Maillard reaction in food and implications to kinetic modelling. Trends Food Sci Technol 11(9–10):364–373.

  20. McMaster MC (2007) GC/MS: a practical user’s guide. In: GC/MS: a practical user’s guide, 2nd edn.

  21. Miller KB, Hurst WJ, Payne MJ, Stuart DA, Apgar J, Sweigart DS, Ou B (2008) Impact of alkalization on the antioxidant and flavanol content of commercial cocoa powders. J Agric Food Chem 56:8527–8533.

  22. Misnawi A, Jinap S, Jamilah B, Nazamid S (2004) Sensory properties of cocoa liquor as affected by polyphenol concentration and duration of roasting. Food Qual Prefer 15:403–409.

  23. Mursu J, Voutilainen S, Nurmi T, Rissanen TH, Virtanen JK, Kaikkonen J, Nyyssonen K, Salonen JT (2004) Dark chocolate consumption increases HDL cholesterol concentration and chocolate fatty acids may inhibit lipid peroxidation in healthy humans. Free Radic Biol Med 37:1351–1359.

  24. Odunsi AA, Longe OG (1998) Nutritive value of hot water- or cocoa-pod ash solution-treated cocoa bean cake for broiler chicks. Br Poult Sci 39:519–525

  25. Polagruto JA, Wang-Polagruto JF, Braun MM, Lee L, Kwik-Uribe C, Keen CL (2006) Cocoa flavanol-enriched snack bars containing phytosterols effectively lower total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. J Am Diet Assoc 106(11):1804–1813.

  26. Rodríguez P, Pérez E, Guzmán R (2009) Effect of the types and concentrations of alkali on the color of cocoa liquor. J Sci Food Agric 89:1186–1194.

  27. Saltini R, Akkerman R, Frosch S (2013) Optimizing chocolate production through traceability: a review of the influence of farming practices on cocoa bean quality. Food Control 29:167–187.

  28. Schultz TH, Flath RA, Mon TR, Eggling SB, Teranishi R (1977) Isolation of volatile components from a model system. J Agric Food Chem 25(3):446–448.

  29. Serra Bonvehí J, Ventura Coll F (1997) Evaluation of bitterness and astringency of polyphenolic compounds in cocoa powder. Food Chem 60:365–370.

  30. Serra Bonvehí J, Ventura Coll F (2002) Factors affecting the formation of alkylpyrazines during roasting treatment in natural and alkalinized cocoa powder. J Agric Food Chem 50:3743–3750.

  31. Slinkard K, Singleton VL (1977) Total phenol analysis: automation and comparison with manual methods. Am J Enol Vitic 28:49–55

  32. Stark T, Hofmann T (2005) Structures, sensory activity, and dose/response functions of 2,5-diketopiperazines in roasted cocoa nibs (Theobroma cacao). J Agric Food Chem 53(18):7222–7231.

  33. Wissgott U (1988) Process of alkalization of cocoa in aqueous phase. US Patent 4,784,866, pp 1–5. Retrieved from, 4:784,866.

  34. Wollgast J, Anklam E (2000) Review on polyphenols in Theobroma cacao: changes in composition during the manufacture of chocolate and methodology for identification and quantification. Food Res Int 33(6):423–447.

Download references


This study was supported by Shirin Asal Company (Cocoa powder Company in Tabriz, Iran). The authors gratefully thank Mr. Unes Zhaleh (chief executive officer of Shirin Asal) Company for providing laboratory and processing facilities.

Author information

Correspondence to Narmela Asefi.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Alasti, F.M., Asefi, N., Maleki, R. et al. The influence of three different types and dosage of alkaline on the inherent properties in cocoa powder. J Food Sci Technol (2020).

Download citation


  • Cocoa
  • Alkalization
  • Color
  • Polyphenol
  • Alkylpyrazine