Swiss Scientists Say Poo Is Key Flavour Of Chocolate

Swiss scientists have broken down the aromas of cocoa and chocolate and identified poo as one of the major scents.

Female researchers Karin Chatelain and Irene Chetschik from the ZHAW Institute of Food and Beverage Innovation in the Swiss municipality of Wadenswil created an aroma kit with the key aromatic components of chocolate and cocoa.

Inspired by oenological training kits used to help sommeliers polish their senses, the two researchers developed a kit by identifying and classifying key smells and flavours of cocoa and chocolate.


The experiment included the processing of cocoa (Theobroma cacao) where flavours and scents were evaluated through various stages of development, starting from harvest and finalising with roasting and conching.

Then the scientists used a Gas-Chromatography-Olfactometry (GC-O) method which combines information about chemical characterisation and odour perception.

Additionally, expert accounts and relevant literature were also used for comparison.


Twenty-five key components such as cinnamon, smoke, boiled potatoes, and surprisingly faeces were isolated and found their place in the sensory kit.

Karin Chatelain told Newsflash: “With the new aroma kit, we wanted to contribute to a better understanding of the sensory quality of cocoa and chocolate and share our findings.”

The flavour composition of chocolate is influenced by the origins of the cocoa fruit and by subsequent biochemical and thermal processing technologies, starting from fresh cocoa beans to the final product.


In general, over 500 volatile compounds have so far been identified in cocoa and chocolate, however only a few contribute significantly to the characteristic chocolate aroma.

Irene Chetschik said: “Interestingly, there is not a single compound that smells like cocoa, but rather the interplay of several different chemical compounds is what creates the cocoa aroma. In order to better understand the cocoa aroma and to simplify it, we have summarised the key components in the aroma kit.”

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