Core Technology

Cacao Biotechnology is developing new varieties of cacao with added value traits. We have developed methods for large-scale clonal propagation of cacao varieties and have developed field sites for growth and testing of these varieties. Cacao Biotechnologies exclusive partnership with Penn State scientists enables cutting edge biotechnology research and access to additional world-class dedicated laboratory and greenhouse facilities. Most importantly, Cacao Biotechnolgies has partnered with leading scientists in the field, with over 40 cumulative years of experience in the field of plant biotechnology.


Cacao Biotechhnogies Core Technical Capabilities include:

  1. Cacao Genetics: Genetic strains of cacao vary in many traits including the levels and types of important phytochemicals in their beans. Cacao Biotechnolgy possesses an extensive germplasm collections of rare and valuable cacao genotypes, and the capability to analyze and modify the genetics of the cacao plant.
    • Collection of rare porcelana criollo type cacao genotypes
    • Genetic fingerprinting using state-of-the-art DNA markers
    • Gene isolation and functional analysis: Cacao Biotechnology and their partners have identified essentially all of the genes in the cacao plant and are in the process of systematically analyzing the function of target genes and the encoded proteins by using transient expression systems and producing experimental model plants with modified production of the target protein. This capability opens positions Cacao Biotechnology to be a leader in the field.
    • Genetic transformation capability: Cacao Biotechnology and Penn State scientists have the ability to modify gene expression levels in cacao through genetic engineering. We are exploring this as one method to develop high value strains of cacao.
    • We are the only group to have succeeded in creating transgenetic cacao and possessing this capability.
  2. Cacao Growth and Propagation:
    • Plant tissue culture: somatic embryogenesis: This method can be used to multiply millions of plants from just a few flowers, replicating the original plant variety and allowing the production of arge scale cacao farms with uniformly controlled genetics.
    • Nursery propagation systems: grafting, rooted cuttings: These methods are traditional methods used by farmers to propagate cacao. We have developed high efficiency propagation systems and nurseries for propagation of our elite germplasm collection.
    • Cacao production farms in Dominican Republic: We have partnered with several farmers in the DR who have developed cacao farms on large scales. Cacao Biotechnologies has the capability to grow our high-value genotypes and provide identity preserved cacao beans for our customers.
  3. Biochemistry: Analytical capabilities for cacao metabolites such as lipids and flavonoids.
    • HPLC, Mass Spec
    • Metabolite purification
    • Flavonoids
    • Fatty Acids
  4. Secondary Synthesis and Bioreaction