S. Miescher Schwenninger, S. Freimüller Leischtfeld and C. Gantenbein-Demarchi
Significance and Impact of the Study: Microbial identification with MALDI-TOF MS has increased the number of samples that can be analysed in a given time, a prerequisite for high-throughput methods. This method is already widely used for the identification of clinical microbial isolates, whereas in food fermentation research, including cocoa bean fermentation, microbiota is mostly identified by time-consuming, biochemical-based phenotyping and molecular approaches. This study presents the use of MALDI-TOF MS for characterizing the microbial biodiversity of cocoa bean fermentation. The feasibility of MALDI-TOF MS identification of cocoa-specific microbiota has been shown with samples collected during on-site studies in two countries of origin, Bolivia and Brazil.