Frances Bekele

Frances Bekele - Cocoa Research Centre Morphology Section LeaderOverview

Frances is a Research Fellow with an extensive public and professional service record. Leadership of the Morphological Characterisation section of CRC is the substantive part of her service to CRC. She is also affiliated with studies on heavy metal and Ochratoxin A contamination; and flavour chemicals and volatiles in cocoa.

Frances serves as a scientific referee of several publications, as editor of the INGENIC Newsletter and co-edits various international workshop proceedings, part of her many activities in Outreach and Professional Service.

Area of Expertise/Interests/Specialties

  • Numerical taxonomy (classification) of cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) and comparison of classification methods.
  • Evaluation of germplasm for traits of economic interest in order to identify candidates for enhancement and breeding.
  • ICG,T assessments to facilitate utilisation and to identify conservation needs:
    • Phenotypic diversity
    • Detection of potential mis-labelling in the ICG,T.
    • Detection of possible correspondence between associations among cacao accessions and their geographic origins
  • Assessment of the taxonomic value of cacao descriptors/characters in order to improve the descriptor list used for characterisation at CRC.
  • The status of the global cocoa industry.
  • Heavy metals and other toxins in cocoa.
  • Flavour chemicals in cocoa.



Morphological characterisation of the accessions in the ICG,T.

Selected Publications

Maharaj, K.., Maharaj, P., Bekele, F.L., Ramnath, D., Bidaisee, G.G., Bekele, I., Persad, C., Jennings, K., and Sankar, R. (2011). Trinidad selected hybrids: An invesitgation of the Phenotypic and agro-economic traits of 20 selected cacao culivars. Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad) Volume 88 (4).

Johnson, E., Bekele, F., Brown, S., Zhang, D., Meinhart, L. and Schnell, R. (2009). Population Structure and Genetic Diversity of the Trinitario Cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) from Trinidad and Tobago. Crop Science 49: 564–57

Bekele, F.L., Butler, D.R. and Bidaisee, G.G. (2008a). Upper Amazon Forastero cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) 1: An assessment of phenotypic relationships in the International Cocoa Genebank, Trinidad. Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad) Vol 85 No. 1 January 2008: 1-15.

Bekele, F.L., A.D. Iwaro, Butler, D.R. and Bidaisee, G.G. (2008b). Upper Amazon Forastero cacao (Theobroma cacao L.) 2: An overview of Parinari clones from a breeder’s perspective. Tropical Agriculture (Trinidad). Vol 85 No. 1 January 2008: 16-33.


Contact Information

Cocoa Research Centre
The University of the West Indies
St. Augustine, Trinidad.

Tel: (868) 662 2002 Ext. 83333
Fax: (868) 662 8788