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Ing. Miroslav Dragoun, UCT Prague, ročník 3

Faculty Faculty of Food and Biochemistry technologies
Field of study Food chemistry and technology
Field of internship Agriculture and Food Science
Specialization of InternshipAgricultural and Food Products Processing
Internship period (from - to) 1.10.2018 - 1.12.2018
Internship duration (weeks) 9
Transport (means, price) Plane, 979,28 EUR
Insurance/Insurance company Generali
Visa/Work permit (yes/no) No
Price of Visa None
City of Internship Zobrazit místo na mapě  Ecuador, Quito
Internship reference number EC-2018-USFQ037

About the country

Location of the place

Quito is placed in 3000 meters above sea level so altitude sickness can be a problem.


Capital city with 3 000 000 people. It was not clever to walk alone outside after dark, but Uber was really cheap and safe.

Surroundings (possible trips, ...)

Ecuador have everything. Mountains, jungle, beaches etc. It is a very nice country with a lot of thing to do.



Universidad San Francisco de Quito - USFQ
Department of Chemical Engineering

Work description

Processing the cacao pods
First we have to dice the pods on small squares 1 x 1 cm. After dicing we have to dry it and grind it. Drying should be for at least 24 h in 55 °C. For grinding use the big grinder.

Pretreatment of cacao biomass
For pretreatment you have to prepare 4 solutions: 2% NaOH, 15% NH4OH, 2% H2SO4 and demineralized water. For 10 g of biomass use 150 ml of certain solution. Use boiling stones for all samples and for NaOH and NH4OH add magnets for stirring too (these two samples are extremely foamy). Start slowly heating up under the reflux and when it starts to boil start counting 4 hours. After 4 hours of boiling, start with filtration. Save liquids after filtration for sugar measurement and neutralize the biomass to the neutral pH (with 1M HCl and 1M NaOH).

Enzymatic hydrolysis
First you need to prepare 50 mM sodium citrate buffer pH 4,8. Use the link below for preparation of buffer ( We have used 3 g of pretreated biomass in 50 ml of buffer and we have added 10 µl of enzyme (150 g/t). In the end we used nitrogen flashing for 2 minutes on each sample. Hydrolysis was carried out for 72 hours and 55 °C. In the end we have filtered it and used the liquid for fermentation.

After the sterilization of the erlenmeyer flasks use 50 ml of enzymatic hydrolysis liquid product and add 1% inoculum of activated yeast. For activation of yeast use 17,5 g of Levadura Activa Seca La Reposterita® and 5 g of sugar in 20 ml of sterilized demineralized water and put into 30 °C for 15 minutes (it is foamy again). Fermentation was carried out for 24 hours and 30 °C.

Salary (sufficient for local conditions?)

If it will be meant only for the accommodation and food, then maybe yes, but if you want to travel, then no.

Language requirements

English - advanced

Accommodation (price, who provided it)

210 $ per month
Casa Aqua Canela - Private owner. All other interns were there too.

Social life

Meeting IAESTE members (pick-up at the airport, organized events...)

Pick-up at the airport. Good communication. Some organised events like a trip to Mindo etc.

Meeting other foreign students

At the hostel, party and trips.

Sport and culture

Soccer and salsa :)

Food, local specialties

Corn, all kinds of fruits, pork and a lot of seafood.

Other information

Possibilites to communicate with the Czech Republic

Whatsapp is a favourite app in Ecuador and you have it for free on your ecuadorian sim card.

Recommendations for students who will go to the same place

Watchout for the hygiene and proper water and food quality. It is not advised to go out after dark alone, so use a taxi or uber to go for a party.

What not to forget with you

Clothes for every kind of weather, because in Quito you can go through all seasons in one day.
If you want to go to Galapagos you should have GoPro camera and normal camera.

Benefits of the internship

Working in team
Experience with different culture
New contacts and possibilities
Good for the language experience (spanish)

Cooperation with IAESTE in the foreign country

Very good.

Overall experience with IAESTE


Student's website

Employer's webiste

Other useful links


Other comments

2 months are not enough :)

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