Mai Kone Koumba
Côte d'Ivoire 2020
The aromatic quality of cocoa produced in Côte d'Ivoire is often poor due to inadequate agricultural practices, including the fermentation process, which is the most important operation in chocolate aroma and flavour development. For this reason, Mai Kone Koumba is focusing her research on improving the quality of Ivorian cocoa. More specifically, she is studying the optimisation of cocoa fermentation technology, the selection process for yeasts of interest and the development of microbial ferments which can be transferred to plantations and reused by cocoa producers to produce chocolate with the sensory characteristics required by consumers. Thanks to her research, she has identified several in vitro yeast strains with high aromatic potential, isolated by cocoa fermentation.
She would like to advance her career in research and development, in an international non-governmental organisation or in the chocolate industry, so that the results of her research can be used to help families who run small and generally vulnerable cocoa farms, with a specific focus on the issues of rural women and the well-being of their children.
Field of Research
Improving the quality of Ivorian cocoa.

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