A comparison was realized between the characteristics of shea butters from local markets in Côte d’Ivoire and optimized shea butters, manufactured in a laboratory, in order to valuate the improvements in quality. Large diversity concerning the colour (beige, grey and yellow), odour (odourless, moderate, fragrant and rancid) and the consistency (soft and hard) was found for the ordinary shea butter while the optimized one presented specific sensorial characteristics (beige or yellow colour, moderate odour and soft consistency). The acid (10.51 and 11.94 mgKOH/g), peroxide (5.77 and 2.79 mEgO2/kg) and moisture content (0.15%) values of the optimized shea butter were much lower than those of the marketed ones which were 12.80 to 17.32 mgKOH/g, 14.70 to 30.88 mEgO2/kg and 3.26 to 14.50%, respectively. Moreover, the optimized shea butters were free from heavy metals (lead and nickel), Salmonella and the microbial (coliforms), yeast and moulds contents were lower compared to the marketed shea butters. In addition, the optimized shea butters had a high unsaponifiable content (17.61%) and some minerals such as calcium (212.26 to 238.85 mg/kg), sodium (84.57 to 136.62 mg/kg), potassium (36.41 to 45.17 mg/kg), magnesium (12.18 mg/kg), zinc (1.90 mg/kg) and iron (1.67 mg/kg).
Key words: Shea butter, Vitellaria paradoxa, properties, quality, Côte d’Ivoire.
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