By: Estrella Z. Gallardo
To be able to make quality chocolates, a well-known and well-loved product that comes from cacao beans, the bean must be newly harvested and should be used immediately. However, some cacao suppliers, delay wet bean delivery and as a result adulterate the beans which at the same time also reduced the quality of cacao – based products.
To do away with this, to protect the stakeholders of the cacao industry; there is a need to monitor the quality of cacao wet beans in the market. The Philippine center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) has developed a sensor – based device to determine the freshness of harvested cacao beans.
A sensor is a device or instrument and responds to some type of input from the physical environment. The output is generally a signal that is converted to human readable display.
The instrument is composed of several sensors that measure the sugar content, volatile alcohol, and salinity of the juice from the bean mucilage.
Once the juice is analyzed, the device shows whether the quality of beans is still within standards.
The device is expected to increase accuracy of cacao quality screening. It can help avoid losses brought about by purchase of low quality cacao beans especially from foreign suppliers.
The device which is intended for cacao farmers, buyers, and processors, as well as regulatory agencies can also open opportunities for local fabrication and assembly (PSciJourn MegaManila).