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Fast Discrimination of Chocolate Quality Based on Average-Mass-Spectra Fingerprints of Cocoa Polyphenols

Fayeulle, Noémie, Meudec, Emmanuelle, Boulet, Jean Claude, Vallverdu-Queralt, Anna, Hue, Clotilde, Boulanger, Renaud, Cheynier, Véronique, Sommerer, Nicolas
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2019 v.67 no.9 pp. 2723-2731
chemometrics, chocolate, cocoa beans, flavanols, liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, polyphenols, sensory evaluation, sensory properties
This work aims to sort cocoa beans according to chocolate sensory quality and phenolic composition. Prior to the study, cocoa samples were processed into chocolate in a standard manner, and then the chocolate was characterized by sensory analysis, allowing sorting of the samples into four sensory groups. Two objectives were set: first to use average mass spectra as quick cocoa-polyphenol-extract fingerprints and second to use those fingerprints and chemometrics to select the molecules that discriminate chocolate sensory groups. Sixteen cocoa polyphenol extracts were analyzed by liquid chromatography–low-resolution mass spectrometry. Averaging each mass spectrum provided polyphenolic fingerprints, which were combined into a matrix and processed with chemometrics to select the most meaningful molecules for discrimination of the chocolate sensory groups. Forty-four additional cocoa samples were used to validate the previous results. The fingerprinting method proved to be quick and efficient, and the chemometrics highlighted 29 m/z signals of known and unknown molecules, mainly flavan-3-ols, enabling sensory-group discrimination.