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Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism
Volume 2016, Article ID 7906927, 3 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2016/7906927
Review Article

Cocobiota: Implications for Human Health

Lycotec Ltd., Granta Park Campus, Cambridge CB21 6GP, UK

Received 26 October 2015; Revised 17 February 2016; Accepted 22 March 2016

Academic Editor: H. K. Biesalski

Copyright © 2016 Ivan M. Petyaev and Yuriy K. Bashmakov. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Manufacturing of dark chocolate and other cocoa-based products is a complex multistage process beginning with spontaneous cocoa bean fermentation driven in the postharvest period by different microorganisms derived from the environment. Cocobiota defined as the association of microbial species involved in cocoa bean fermentation may have considerable impact on the medicinal properties of cocoa products via various primary and secondary metabolites, whose presence in dark chocolate and other cocoa-derived products has to be taken into consideration when analyzing medicinal effects of cocoa. Metabolites of acetic acid and lactic acid bacteria, two major cocobiota members, are recently shown to have considerable antifungal and cholesterol-lowering activities and promote the formation of short chain fatty acids and mannitol, an important prebiotic capable of modifying gut microbiota. Penicillium citrinum, a major type of fungi identifiable in fermented cocoa beans, produces a thermostable alkaloid, Penicitrinine A, as well as lovastatin, compounds with antineoplastic and cholesterol-lowering abilities, respectively. Moreover, recent results suggest that bacterial and fungal metabolites produced by cocobiota have a significant anti-infective potential. Therefore, various metabolites produced by cocobiota can mimic some medicinal effects of dark chocolate and other cocoa-derived products previously attributed to cocoa flavonoids and methylxanthines and need to be thoroughly investigated in in vitro and in vivo systems.