Shea butter is a high–value shea nut fat used as an edible oil, antimicrobial and moisturiser in the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries, respectively. The annual worldwide export of shea nut from Africa is 350,000 MT of kernels with a market value of approximately $120 million to producing countries. The multifunctional properties of the shea butter depend strictly on its compositional properties: the peroxide value, moisture content, free fatty acid level and the insoluble impurities. Standard extraction technologies: the traditional, mechanized, enzymatic and chemical methods were used for shea butter extraction. Current extraction technologies which rely on different extraction parameters for shea butter extraction are yet to yield the desired qualities and efficiencies of butter. Application of hydrolysing enzymes during enzyme extraction however eliminates the laborious, tedious and labour–intensive extraction processes creating alternative, selective and mild extraction conditions. The current review gives an overview of shea butter extraction technologies, the efficiencies, qualities and a perspective into the shea butter industry.
Key words: Shea butter, mechanical, chemical, traditional, enzymatic, technologies.
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