PhilMech Device Measures Cacao Beans Quality Instantly

The cacao beans sensor developed by PhilMech researchers led by Engr. Reynaldo P. Gregorio.

A new device that instantly measures quality of freshness of cacao beans has been developed by PhilMech, the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization, funded by PCAARRD, the Los Baños-based agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

The electronic-based sensor device is portable and easy to use. By just placing a few drops of the bean’s watery mucilage into the sensor receptacle, one can already assess the freshness of harvested cacao bean by measuring its sugar content and alcohol content. The sensor can also tell if the bean is adulterated by assessing its water content and salinity.

A programmable software does the measurement and shows the results in a liquid crystal display similar to laptap monitors. The cacao quality sensor and the software were developed by the research team led by Engr. Reynaldo P.Gregorio through the PCAARRD-funded project: “Development of Sensor Devices for Cacao Quality Measurement.”

This technology will be useful to suppliers, buyers of freshly harvested cacao beans and processors of chocolate. High quality and good tasting chocolates come from quality freshly harvested cacao beans. It is important that the raw materials are assessed prior to processing. Cacao beans with high sugar content and which have not exhibited onset of fermentation are regarded as high quality.

A fruitful BR 25 cacao in Teresa, Rizal.

The sensor has been tested in Davao and plans to test it in other cacao-growing regions in the Philippines are under way. This is to further ascertain its performance and accuracy. Patent application for this technology is currently being arranged. (PRESS RELEASE, DOST-PCAARRD S&T MEDIA SERVICE)

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