Microbiological and physicochemical characterization of shea butter sold on Benin markets

G.F. Honfo, K. Hell, N.H. Akissoe, A.R. Linnemann, O. Coulibaly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Shea butter, a fat from the nuts of shea tree, is of great nutritional and commercial value for local communities of Africa. The sanitary and physicochemical qualities of shea butter sold in Benin markets are unknown. This study assesses the quality characteristics of 54 samples of shea butter collected from eight markets in Benin, West Africa. Total germs, yeasts and mould varied with markets. Moisture content ranged between 2.5 to 6.2%. Iodine index was around 49 mgI2/100 g, but acid index (4.1 to 6.0 mgKOH/g), peroxide value (9.4 to 11.8 meq O2/kg) and saponification values (186.4 to 193.7 mgKOH/g) showed high variability both within and between samples of different markets. Quality characteristics were poorer for butter collected in the main urban markets (Cotonou, Bohicon and Malanville), due mainly to poor storage conditions. Shea butter could be stored in a clean package before sale to preserve its beneficial qualities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-29
JournalJournal of Stored Products and Postharvest Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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