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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336142

Research Project: Sustainable Production Systems for Cacao

Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory

Title: Impact of soils and cropping systems on composition of mineral elements of dry cacao beans

Author
item Araujo, Q - University Of Santa Cruz - Brazil
item Loureiro, G - University Of Santa Cruz - Brazil
item Baligar, Virupax
item Comerford, N - University Of Florida
item Souza, J - University Of Santa Cruz - Brazil

Submitted to: Environmental Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/14/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Cacao is an important economically valuable crop for many tropical countries. Increased production and improved quality of cacao bean is vital to achieve economical sustainability of cacao by resource poor farmers. In this paper we report the relationship of soil factors and management practices that contribute to elemental composition of cacao beans that determine its quality. Variations in the mineral content of Mn, Fe, Zn, Cu, Cd and Ba in cacao beans were related to the cropping sites. In some sites, Cd contents were above the limit set by the European Union. This information will be of use to cacao grower to avoid soils and location with high Cd. The findings of this study will be useful to cacao grower to select soils that are fertile and adapt management practices that could improve production and cacao bean quality with reduced levels of toxic elements such as Cd.

Technical Abstract: In view of its high economic value, cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) researchers are seeking technological innovations that increase production and improve the quality of cacao beans. The objective of this study was to characterize the mineral (P, K, Ca, Mg, Si, Fe, Mn, Zn, Cu, Cd, Ba) composition of cacao beans of the clone PH-16 grown in different soil types (Argisols, Cambisols and Latosols) under different cropping systems (Cacao Cabruca, Cacao x Erythrina and Cacao x Rubber). Potassium was the mineral element most incorporated and removed by PH-16 cacao beans. Potassium, Ca, P and Mg mineral content of dry cacao beans were positively correlated with each other and showed similarity in clusters of average contents in relationship to the different cropping sites. However, results of multivariate analysis suggested that the supply of macronutrients could be deficient in most cropping sites. Silicon content in cacao beans is proportionately close to the content of macronutrients. Variations in the content of Mn, Fe, Zn, Cu, Cd and Ba in cacao beans were related to the cropping sites because these mineral elements did not show any significant correlations with each other. Barium contents observed in this study correspond to levels of micronutrients. In four sites, the Cd content of the cacao beans were higher than the limit set by the European Union.