Diversity of yeasts during fermentation of cocoa from two sites in the Brazilian Amazon

ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to identify the yeasts involved in spontaneous fermentation of cocoa from the Brazilian Amazon region. The fermentation process was carried out experimentally with cocoa seeds from two sites (Medicilândia and Tucumã), State of Pará, northern Brazil, during a six-day period. Totals of 44 yeasts were isolated from Medicilândia and 29 from Tucumã. Molecular identification was carried out by sequencing the D1/D2 region fragment of the rRNA 26S gene, expanded with universal primers for the NL1GC and LS2 eukaryotes. Pichia manshurica and Saccharomyces cerevisiae were identified in Medicilândia and five yeast species (Pichia fermentans, P. kudriavzevii, P. manshurica, S. cerevisiae and Zygosaccharomyces bailii) were identified in Tucumã. The results showed that P. manshurica and S. cerevisiae may have potential for use as starter cultures in future studies to improve the quality of cocoa seeds fermented in the Brazilian Amazon region.