If eating a bar of chocolate grown from a petri dish in the lab doesn’t appeal to you, you are not alone. However, that is not stopping the scientists from the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). They have partially succeeded.

The scientists were attempting to discover if they could create plant cell structures From cocoa beans and recreate the important active ingredient polyphenols.

Polyphenols are required for flavour but are also credited with many of the wondrous benefits that make cocoa one of the best superfoods packed with anti-oxidants and with benefits in particular to the cardiovascular system. 

In conducting these experiments the scientists noticed that when a cocoa bean was cut it would create a scab, called a callus, on the top of the surface a few weeks later. 

This callus scab could easily be recreated, they discovered,  and this led to the concept of developing cultures which they hope in future to be able to scale and make commercially viable.

The bioreactor for such an operation would need to be several cubic meters large, which appears to be some way off at the moment.

The brief film from did not make it clear what the benefits would be of producing chocolate in a lab. Perhaps it could be seen as being more sustainable, or a more predictable formula for making chocolate with a specific flavour profile?

The scientists still rely on mixing, among other things, cocoa butter,  so it seems that the cocoa fruit is still required.

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