Raw cocoa beans were processed to produce cocoa powders with different combinations of fermentation (unfermented, cool, or hot) and roasting (not roasted, cool, or hot). Cocoa powder extracts were characterized and assessed for α-glucosidase inhibitory activity in vitro. Cocoa processing (fermentation/roasting) contributed to significant losses of native flavanols. All of the treatments dose-dependently inhibited α-glucosidase activity, with cool fermented/cool roasted powder exhibiting the greatest potency (IC50: 68.09 µg/mL), when compared to acarbose (IC50: 133.22 µg/mL). A strong negative correlation was observed between flavanol mDP and IC50, suggesting flavanol polymerization as a marker of enhanced α-glucosidase inhibition in cocoa. Our data demonstrate that cocoa powders are potent inhibitors of α-glucosidase. Significant reductions in the total polyphenol and flavanol concentrations induced by processing do not necessarily dictate a reduced capacity for α-glucosidase inhibition, but rather these steps can enhance cocoa bioactivity. Non-traditional compositional markers may be better predictors of enzyme inhibitory activity than cocoa native flavanols.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Cell Biology